The battle to grant in-state tuition to some illegal immigrants has Freeman Hrabowksi, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Del. Pat McDonough on opposite sides of the issue.
Hrabowski is scheduled to appear at an event in support of efforts to pass the law in a referendum vote in November. It's a stance that has McDonough, a Middle River Republican, accusing the university leader of being "soft on illegal immigrants."
McDonough said he's concerned Hrabowski is already allowing illegal or undocumented immigrants to attend the university at in-state tuition rates.
"He's a public official and his salary is paid for by the taxpayers of Maryland," McDonough said. "What right does he have to advocate for breaking the law.
"When a public servant goes out there and supports something like this, I want to know what his policy is," McDonough said.
McDonough is not only an advocate for defeating the law in November, he's involved in a lawsuit against Montgomery College, which already charges illegal immigrants in-state tuition.
Hrabowski was not available for an interview Tuesday.
Elyse Ashburn, a spokeswoman for the university, said Hrabowski would be available during Wednesday's event at UMBC with Baltimore Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden, and a student identified only as "Karina." The event is sponsored by Educating Maryland Kids, which bills itself as a coalition of faith-based, education, civil rights, and labor organizations advocating for upholding the recently passed tuition bill.
Ashburn said the university follows the policy of the University of Maryland System regarding which students are charged in-state tuition.
Ashburn said "system policy does not ask for documentation at the time of application and no UMS campuses require documentation at that time.
"UMBC, like all UMS campuses, is required to and does ask applicants a series of questions to determine residency status, including whether the applicant 'has a legal ability under Federal and Maryland law to live permanently without interruption in Maryland.' The applicants sign the application, swearing to the truthfulness of their statements.
"If there is an appeal of a residency decision, students are required to provide documentation as part of that process," Ashburn said.