Legal Immigrants in Maryland are speaking out against the state's new law that will offer in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens. According to a report by the Washington Post, many legal immigrants in the state have joined forces with a group leading the effort to repeal the law through a ballot initiative.
"I did the full legal process," Anuchit Washirapunya told the Washington Post. "The illegal students have no right to work or stay here."
Advocacy group Help Save Maryland, along with Republican lawmakers in the state, collected more than 100,000 signatures for a petition to hold a public referendum on the issue. Groups that support the bill, including Casa de Maryland, are challenging the petition effort in court since most signatures were collected electronically. Until the courts rule on the challenge, the law's enactment has been suspended.
Shakil Hamid, a legal immigrant from Bangladesh is also helping with the effort to repeal the law.
"These people are taking seats in college away from our kids," Hamid told the Post. "Why should we reward their dishonest behavior?"
In Montgomery County, where Casa de Maryland has several office locations, any student who graduates from a county high school, regardless of immigration status, receives a reduced rate at the county's community college. But legal immigrants have mixed feelings about that policy as well.
"Everyone wants to get an education, but you can’t just come to this country illegally and think everything is free. You have to be patient and legalize yourself," said Josephine Beyam who studies nursing at the college and came to the U.S. legally after waiting for four years. "We have been through thick and thin. This country is a blessing, and the government is very generous. If you are not born here, you have to start from the beginning, but I accept that, because you can still pursue your dreams."
For the full story, see the Washington Post.
Updated: Tue, Nov 29th 2011 @ 11:12am EST