Reporting Jessica Kartalija
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The first signatures were submitted Tuesday in the push to allow Maryland voters to decide the issue of in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants.
Jessica Kartalija has the latest on this back-and-forth battle.
That bill has already passed but Tuesday, conservative delegates said that giving undocumented immigrants and their children a break in tuition rates is a taxpayer waste of money.
Weeks after Governor Martin O’Malley signed a law giving undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rights, conservative delegates gathered in Annapolis to launch a state-wide campaign to fight it.
“It’s a message to Governor O’Malley, to politicians in Annapolis, Casa de Maryland and others that the people in this state are mad as hell,” said Delegate Pat McDonough.
Delegates say they’ve exceeded the required number of signatures to put the matter before Maryland voters in 2012.
“Signing this petition is a message to our legislators that no, Maryland is spending too much money and we need to cut back on the spending,” said Delegate Neil Parrott.
“So, the programs and policies put forth by the politicians in Annapolis turn Maryland into a Disneyland for illegal immigrants with benefits, attractions and free rides,” McDonough said.
The Dream Act grants undocumented immigrants in-state tuition after completing two years at a Maryland community college.
“This will allow us to have a more highly educated work force in our state which is good for all of us,” O’Malley said.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment a lot and everyone quit school because they can’t afford it,” said one student.
McDonough said it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“They cannot be employed. The Baltimore Sun or Johns Hopkins University is not going to hire an illegal immigrant,” he said.
Fifty-eight thousand signatures are needed by June 30 to get the Dream Act on the 2012 ballot.