BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Opponents of the Dream Act gathered last-minute signatures on a petition to put in-state tuition for undocumented students on the ballot next year.  Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what’s ahead for both sides of the issue.

Those in favor of putting the Dream Act to the voters are confident they’ve met the 55,000 signature requirement for referendum.  Thursday, there was a strong reaction from people who think putting it to a vote is the wrong thing to do.

It’s D-day for the Dream Act: a deadline and a defense.  Opponents rush to meet the deadline for voters to petition the state to put in-state tuition for undocumented students on the ballot next year while a coalition of churches defends the dream.

“While politicians argue about our broken immigration system, the Dream Act gives hope to our young people in this state to move forward.  We should not deny them,” said Bishop Angel Nunez, Bilingual Christian Church.

The Dream Act gives undocumented students the same tuition benefits that apply to legal residents of the state.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear that I have friends and family that can’t go to college just because of a nine digit number,” said Cindy Herrera.

But voters signing the petition stand by that nine digit Social Security number.

“I don’t think it’s fair for them to get a cheaper discount rate than someone who lives in Stewarts, Pennsylvania, to come down here and they gotta pay a bigger price to go to college,” said Wayne Gerbis.

Dream Act supporters say it’s not law or money, it’s opponents stirring up fear.

“If they want the people to vote, well, let the people vote, but don’t poison the water projecting and casting out venom and poison that give an image and provoke racism in our region.  We will not accept that,” said one.

The Dream Act would have taken effect Friday but the petition drive has already delayed it until August.  After the signatures are validated, it’ll stay on hold for the election.

The petitions will be delivered to the Secretary of State’s office in Annapolis Thursday night at 8.

Comments (28)
  1. Rlynn says:

    Let us vote on it….that simple. Elected officials can no longer make decisions for us.

  2. RavenLude says:

    if the citizens of this state vote to keep this ridiculous bill sign by ridiculous liberal politicians, it will be as pathetic as them having voted o’crookster to governor twice.

  3. Mike says:

    Why does wjz say that they have to pay taxes. Not true, they just have to file taxes.Andrea Fujii get your facts right.

  4. Wondering says:

    I am wondering why the ACLU thinks that the website form violates state petition laws…

    As for CASA saying that voters will uphold the newly passed bill, how can they possibly believe that? Or wait, do these illegal aliens also get to vote?

    1. wllharrington says:

      The ACLU will say anything to tie up the legal system with frivolous trash.

  5. Debbie says:

    If the politicians don’t listen to the overhwhelming voice of their constutuents, they are signing their own “out of work” slip. This is a very UNPOPULAR bill voted on against the will of the legal citizens of this state.

    1. Agree says:

      That is correct! I still cannot figure out why it is that some feel those here illegally should get more benefits than those living/serving in Maryland on behalf of our military.

  6. Can't Fix Stupid says:

    I really think Casa de Maryland needs to be investigated. Who do they think they are using OUR tax dollars? Del. McDonough maybe this could be your next step. Investigate them. Let’s see how many illegal ID’s they’ve given out! I think this petition lets our “elected” officials know where tax paying citizens stand. Take care of your own first! Illegals don’t deserve ANYTHING but a bus ticket home.

  7. Daniel says:

    “This will allow us to have a more highly educated work force in our state, which is good for all of us,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in May.

    Trouble with our Governor is he don’t realize how dumb that statement is. Unless he is now promoting that businesses should hire illegal immigrants and get away with not paying the taxes and health care that businesses should be doing.

    Illegal MEANS Illegal.

  8. Georgeanna Modlin says:

    Send them all back to their countries. We dont want them, let alone to try to educated people who have been undereducated all their lives. Its terrible to even let them stay here cause we sure dont want or need them.

  9. twyatt says:

    What an IDIOT!!!!! We cant find jobs for the legal residents of the county but we r going to educate illegal immigrants to take the jobs in our state that need to be filled by our residents. Why dont we educate our own before we worry about others?

  10. Michele says:

    Do any of you know immigrants who are currently here “illegally”? Do you know what the process is to become “legal”? I teach many students from south of the border who are excellent learners. They, unlike many “real” Americans, seem to appreciate education. Perhaps, if you took the time to meet the people you refer to as alien and illegal, your judgment in this matter would become more balanced.

    1. Gary says:

      Michele repeats the usual liberal feel good statement. However, illegal means just that; they are in this country illegally. Also, Michele needs to brush up on the costs these excellent learners are imposing on the rest of us.Take a good look at CA education costs and why that state is almost broke. Also, are these excellent learners being taught in English or are special provisions being made to teach them, another cost

      1. wllharrington says:

        Michele apparently does not know that the first step in being in this country legally is to get a visa. She teaches many students from south of the border BUT ARE THEY HERE LEGALLY, just because they appreciate education does not absolve them from following the law.

    2. Michele says:

      First, I did call anyone on here a name; I am neither liberal nor conservative. I simply alluded to two observations. One is that the process for becoming “legal” is quite expensive. The second, that many of the Hispanic students I teach are incredibly bright and dedicated students. Most of the students are here legally, but not all. My point is that all immigrants are human beings, and it would be nice to keep the conversation free of comments that forget this fact. Discussing the financial concerns of the matter should happen free of slurs and biased statements. These weaken your arguments.

      1. Wondering says:

        Michelle, since you are teacher, I am sure you are aware that alien is a synonym for foreigner, stranger, refugee, immigrant, etc. I would hope that you are also aware that illegal is a synonym for unlawful, unwarranted, banned, contraband.

        The first definition for alien in my Random House Webster’s Dictionary is this: “a foreign-born resident who has not been naturalized and who owes allegiance to another country”. The first definiton given for illegal is this: “forbidden by law or statute”.

        Why does the term “illegal alien” seem to you to be a biased, racial slur which weakens my argument?

      2. Ann Miller says:

        Michele, illegal alien is a LEGAL term, meaning a foreign national who has entered our country in violation of our immigration laws. I’m alarmed that you not only don’t know that as an educator, but go so far as to try to paint it as a racial slur.

        If these illegal alien students can afford the in-state tuition rate after being handed the tax funded discount the Dream Act would give them, then they can afford the cost of becoming a citizen. We have legal American citizens who cannot afford to go the college, but those people are ignored in preference for illegal aliens in this atrocious bill.

      3. Michele says:

        Hi Wondering — my comments were not directed to you. Gary referred to my comments as” liberal feel good”. It was to this comment that I directed my retort. However, the tone of this discussion is heavily biased. I simply suggested keeping in mind that we are talking about human beings who have, for the most part, made the horrible decision to leave their home for the relative safety of the States. If someone has come to Baltimore to be safe, that is sad. As for your use of the words alien and illegal to describe human beings, think about it. Both possess extremely negative connotations. They are not used lightly or carelessly here.

  11. Billiam says:

    At the end of the day, you don’t “reward” someone by doing something that is wrong. Someone here without proper “papers” is by our law, an illegal person in the state. It doesn’t matter if the person is bright and is well-educated, it doesn’t matter if the “process” to become a naturalized citizen is expensive; the law is the law and no one, not even our wonderful Governor O’Malley should try and make a law that “bends” the rules. You are here illegally – why should you get the in-state tuition rate? I also don’t buy the argument that if they can’t get the in-state rate, they can’t afford college. There are a lot of situations where our own children have to pay an out-of-state rate which do not make any sense, but those are the rules. Everyone has to abide by the same rules – end of story

    1. Wondering says:

      Very well stated, Billiam!

  12. Ann Miller says:

    Your staff writers need to check their facts and print a correction to the many errors contained in this article.

    First, the law is not for children. It is for illegal alien adults, age 18 and up, and it also does not stipulate a maximum age. Now the students may be 18 to 23 years old, but ten years from now they will be illegal alien adults in their 30s.

    Second, the requirement is not for the parents to PAY income taxes for five years, it says either the student or parent must FILE income tax RETURNS for only three years. In addition, they can even back file three years worth of returns even if they pay no taxes just to qualify for the benefit.

    Either your staff reporters are just plain sloppy, or you are intentionally misleading the facts to slant the article.

  13. Wondering says:


    At the time of your first post, which is where you referred to the terms alien and illegal, I was the only individual that had used the term “illegal alien”. So I assumed that your comment was directed toward me.

    Many of our own citizens do not live in a safe place or can afford food, health care, college, etc.. Many citizens have lost their jobs and are struggling. Much of the reason is that over time, many “unlawful border crossing human beings” entered our country. Many of our resources are going to help these people. We are doing them and ourselves a disservice because our economy is in dire straits.

    I consider myself a compassionate person. I have learned that you must first take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Like on an airplance and the flight attendant says that in the event of an emergency, adults should put on their own oxygen masks before assisting their children…

    These individuals have not been denied an education. They simply had to pay the non-Maryland resident/citizen rate of tuition, if they chose to attend the public Maryland colleges and universities.

    There was a time when I felt as you do. However, after having children and over time, my views have changed somewhat. I cannot envision the dream of being able to send my own children to college. The days of scholarships for certain populations has diminished greatly, even though they are incredibly bright and dedicated students. I will stop here because I am getting long winded.

  14. Joe says:

    “Dream Act supporters say it’s not law or money, it’s opponents stirring up fear.”

    Not about law? (They only want laws enforced that help them.) Not about money? (Come off that one, leeches, that’s what it is EXACTLY to you.) Yes, I guess we are stirring up fear — fear that you have to take your sticky hands out of our pockets. You already got K-12 education. How about saying thank you instead of whining for more and more?

  15. Stirring up fear? says:

    Dream Act supporters say it’s not law or money, it’s opponents stirring up fear.

    “If they want the people to vote, well, let the people vote, but don’t poison the water projecting and casting out venom and poison that give an image and provoke racism in our region. We will not accept that,” said one.

    Wow! Who is it that is casting out venom and poison and provoking racism? I think the person who made these statements misunderstands the concerns.

  16. PAUL E. MICELLI says:

    “Illegal aliens” do not deserve anything from this country. “Illegal” means just that “Illegal”. The taxpayers of this great nation are fed up with forking out money and not getting anything in return. to aid and abet a “known” criminal (illegal alien) is against the law. Anyone in this country “illegally” is a criminal. Why do we have laws???? why are our elected officials (you know the one’s we “elect”) trying to cram this down the throats of the American people? We all know why, VOTES, and this is a good subject to review with the polititions at the TOWN HALL meetings prior to elections.

  17. adam says:

    I’ve been voting for Democrats for years, but this is disgusting, to say the least. They can sell anything for a few extra votes. O’Malley gets no vote from my house for now on. This news should belong to “Stupid Crimes” section.

  18. library lil says:

    Dream Act should be called the Nightmare Act for law abiding, legal citizens of Maryland. If this goes through, as soon as an illegal applies for in- tuition, ICE should show up at their door and deport the whole family.

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