After the U.S. Senate failed to pass a plan this weekend that could give undocumented students access to citizenship through military service or higher education, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. announced his plan to bring similar legislation to Maryland.
Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington, announced Monday that he plans to introduce his version of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act when the General Assembly convenes in January. If passed, the bill would enable students who graduated from Maryland high schools or served in the military to receive resident-rate tuition at public universities and colleges.
His version of the legislation, while unable to offer citizenship, a federal responsibility, will mirror a bill introduced by Sen. David C. Harrington (D-Dist. 47) of Cheverly in 2009.
Giving immigrants access to higher education and a path to citizenship improves communities and would come at little cost to the state, Madaleno said.
"My impression from the conversations I've had with people in the immigrant community is they're just not going to school," he said. "They're not able to pay the out-of-state- rate. If there were a revenue loss, I think it would be so tiny, it would be minimal."
The Maryland legislature passed a version of the Dream Act in 2003, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Ten states have passed laws allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.
"We want to certainly maximize the potential of every person in our state and if it's helping them go to college, I think that's a good thing," Madaleno said, "especially if that's encouraging them to find a path to at least being documented."