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Marylanders Supporting Dream Act in Early Voting

If the referendum is approved, Maryland would join 12 other states that have passed similar laws.

By Sophie Petit for Capital News Service

With about a third of precincts reporting, Marylanders favored the Dream Act Tuesday, with 59 percent voting for the law that would allow some children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

Many votes were left to be counted as of 10 p.m., however.

If the referendum is approved, Maryland would join 12 other states that have passed similar laws.

“We want a state with smart people,” said Annapolis resident Brand Ginsburgh, 63, who voted in favor of the law Tuesday morning in Eastport. “The main thing is, they’re here. They should have access to better jobs.”

Under the law, undocumented high school graduates who could prove they or their parents paid income taxes for three years and earned 60 credits at a Maryland community college would qualify for in-state tuition rates at public two- and four-year colleges. Students would also have to sign an affidavit stating they would apply for a green card, which can take several years. After five years of holding a green card, they could apply for citizenship.

Some voters think undocumented students should go through the entire naturalization process first before receiving benefits.

Nancy Hopper, 76, a retired teacher who has lived in Crownsville for 45 years, voted against the law for this reason.

“They should go through a longer process, which people who have been here and come from other countries have had to do,” she said.  

About 400 undocumented students a year would benefit from the law, according to a recent study by the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, an independent research center founded by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

After being signed into law, the Dream Act was successfully petitioned last summer to be placed on the November ballot as Question 4.

Maryland has no statewide laws about tuition rates and immigration status, leaving the power with individual schools and the Maryland Higher Education Commission to decide.

Some voters worry the law would encourage illegal immigration. 

“It’s targeting our state for illegal immigration,” said Severna Park resident Mary Collins, 65, who voted against the law. “Other countries have stiff laws against illegals. We just open our doors.”

To others the Dream Act is about only one thing: Education. 

“Education is the cornerstone of democracy,” said Annapolis resident Emerson Brooks, 52, who voted in favor of the law. “More education is better than less, always.” 

Ronald Smith November 07, 2012 at 04:53 AM
I'm a bit surprised. My wife brought home some handouts from our polling station. Apparently the Teacher's union was handing out propaganda printed on a red apple that was worded to fool voters into thinking they were voting for in-state tuition for "veterans that have had their education interrupted by service".....she said she otherwise would NOT have voted for this shame law had she realized that they were still referring to illegal aliens. Will have to remember these bozos dirty tactics (the teacher's union) the next time they want more money from the taxpayer.
Ronald Smith November 07, 2012 at 04:54 AM
....and by the way - my wife is a teacher.
MD November 07, 2012 at 02:55 PM
well, there goes more of my taxes to support illegals.....
Christopher Kidwell November 13, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I doubt that the economy is going to collapse as long as they put the new taxes on the RIGHT entities. Namely, the 2/3rds of corporations who are paying nothing in taxes each year and the wealthy who are paying 13% capital gains taxes.
Frank November 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Why are conservatives rooting for America to fail?
Ronald Smith November 13, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Frank - read the bill - it was about all (read 100%) about illegal aliens. They slipped in alien veterans (who account for <3% of those affected by the bill) as a mechanism for confusing people (such as yourself, which it did). Don't feel bad though - I know people that were confused and thought they were voting FOR all veterans who interrupted their education. If they wanted an alien veteran bill they should have made it purely an alien veteran bill (which I would probably would have voted FOR) and not lumped the alien veterans in with illegals. This really is clear as day. People I know, liberals included, from other states that I discuss this with drop their mouths to the floor. Now, anyone care to address why O'Malley had to raise our income taxes to (in O'Malley's words) "keep tuition low" shortly after pushing this through the legislature? Oh I know. It's because someone has to PAY for this ridiculous policy.
Christopher Kidwell November 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Ronald, I have read the bill and you are totally mistaken in what it says. Hell, forget mistaken, I'll be blunt: You are lying about what was in that bill.
Christopher Kidwell November 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Bill, those new taxes are necessary considering everything that is happening in this country. Need I remind that the federal government is taking in 15% of GDP compared to 25% in taxes 50 years ago? If anything, taxes on the wealthy and some corporations (mainly larger ones that are able to outsource) have gotten too low.
Christopher Kidwell November 14, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Tax cuts financed a stimulus? Hell no, that is just insane talk. Tax cuts don't fund anything, they take money away from funding things.

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