ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Fighting the Dream Act. It’s only been days since lawmakers voted to allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. Now one lawmaker is launching a battle to stop it.
Kelly McPherson explains why some say the new legislation is wrong.
It was a heated debate in Annapolis among lawmakers. And now that it’s passed, the arguments continue to get more threatening. The latest is a lawsuit and referendum.
Debate over illegal immigrants qualifying for in-state tuition is far from over.
“It’s breaking my heart; this is my dream. I want to go to college,” said Roberto.
The law goes into effect this summer unless a call for a referendum comes together in time.
“You can’t have people violating the law and then receiving a benefit,” said State Delegate Pat McDonough , R-Baltimore County. “Maryland has become the Disneyland of America for illegal immigrants.
McDonough is suing the state of Maryland for allowing illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition to Maryland universities if their parents can prove they’ve paid state taxes.
The difference in payments is pretty significant. At the University of Baltimore, a person who lives in Maryland would pay about $21,000 per year, but out-of-state tuition is $30,000.
“It’s not always about what’s legal, but what’s just. Keep in mind a half century ago it was legal to keep African-Americans and whites separated at lunch counters,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, Dream Act supporter.
With 54,000 signatures, a petition would prevent the enaction of the law until at least Election Day 2012.
“This attempt at circumventing the law stinks,” Miles said. “It represents the worst of the state of Maryland.”
Both sides predict a victory at the ballot box.
“If a burglar breaks into your home and he is successful in breaking into your home, does that mean that you have to feed and clothe him for the rest of your life?” McDonough said.
McDonough says in the 10 states that have this kind of legislation, eight have legal battles happening right now to overturn the law.