A giveaway to immigrants who break the law

March 17, 2011

As a tax-paying Marylander, I am outraged by the Maryland Senate's approval of in-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants attending the state's public colleges and universities ("Senate approves in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, 27-20," March 15). For one, the entire legislation is flawed because it violates the federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which bars such tuition breaks unless in-state tuition is made available to legal residents of other states as well.

Do Marylanders really want to provide tuition support for residents of other states? I don't. I hope Maryland's attorney general does his job and looks into the legality of this legislation.

The recent DREAM act was an attempt to void the provision of the 1996 act relating to post-secondary education of illegal immigrants, and it was soundly defeated.

Secondly, the legislation requires proof that the parents of undocumented students are paying income taxes. Employment of those not lawfully present in this country is prohibited by federal law.

And while those undocumented students are protected from deportation while younger than 18, after that age they become subject to deportation just like any other illegal immigrant.

The article in The Sun indicated an estimate of how much giving undocumented students tuition breaks would cost the state, but be honest: The cost would ultimately be borne by us taxpayers, since this is really an open-ended benefit to undocumented students and its costs can only increase.

If this legislation becomes law, it will be an open invitation for illegal immigrants to migrate to this state, which is already known as a sanctuary for illegal immigration because of its weak enforcement of existing laws.

When the next elections come around, I hope those who oppose this legislation remember how their governor, state senators and state delegates voted on this legislation. I certainly will.

Michael V. Ernest, Catonsville

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