Correction to This Article
A Metro item in some March 28 editions incorrectly said a district court that Maryland senators want to rename for the late Judge L. Leonard Ruben is in Rockville. It is in Silver Spring.

House Heats Up Over Bill to Give Illegal Immigrants In-State Tuition

By Annapolis Notebook
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

One of the most emotional debates of the Maryland General Assembly session came shortly after 8 p.m. Monday as the House of Delegates took up a bill to allow undocumented immigrants who have lived in Maryland for a length of time to pay in-state tuition at state universities and community colleges.

They currently must pay out-of-state tuition.

Republican opponents said the General Assembly would be sanctioning illegal immigration and take away in-state spots from minority students who are legal residents of Maryland.

Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) told his colleagues, "We are aiding and abetting people who are in this state illegally." His voice rose in anger. "Welcome to Maryland. We are a sanctuary state. We will provide services to you. We will break the rule of law."

The comments infuriated many Democrats, who rose to speak for the bill. The most eloquent was Del. Melvin L. Stukes (D-Baltimore), who spoke with the fervor of a preacher. He compared opposition to undocumented students with the 1700s view of slaves as less than human.

"Do I need anyone to remind me of the mind-set that existed then and still exists today, that some people were considered three-fifths of a human being?" Stukes asked, his voice rising. "Are we still saying that some people are less than whole? I don't think so."

The bill passed 81 to 57. It now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain.

-- Lisa Rein

Court May Be Named for Judge

The Senate introduced a measure yesterday to rename the district court in Rockville, where L. Leonard Ruben, one of Montgomery County's best-known judges, collapsed and died last week.

Sen. P.J. Hogan (D-Montgomery) sponsored the late-filed bill renaming the courthouse in Ruben's honor.

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