In-state tuition for illegal immigrants contradicts federal regulations

March 29, 2011

In the letters to the editor on March 26, there were two contrary views concerning the issue of state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Neither, however, addressed the legality of providing this benefit to illegal aliens. Obviously those Maryland senators who voted for this benefit need to review the federal law on this issue as well. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 states that an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a state for any post-secondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such benefit without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident.

This seems pretty clear to me and, frankly, I do not wish to see my taxes subsidize students from other states — legal or otherwise. Furthermore, one should recall that the attempt to void this provision via the recent "Dream Act" was correctly and soundly defeated. Those Maryland senators who voted for this benefit are simply attempting to circumvent federal law by not asking students whether they are in the U.S. legally and basing eligibility on attendance or graduation from a Maryland high school and not state residence.

This just shows what kind of politicians we legal residents have (supposedly) representing us. We should remember how they voted in upcoming elections.

Michael V. Ernest, Catonsville

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