Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Wednesday was a break-out day for supporters of the Dream Act. An active campaign is now underway urging voters to uphold a new state law that offers in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Political reporter Pat Warren has more on their plans.
The Dream Act, approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor, was put on hold when MDPetitions.com secured the necessary signatures to put the question to voters.
The referendum also survived a court challenge.
“Oh it’s going to be a big, big election,” said Del. Neil Parrott.
Maryland is the 11th state to allow these and other undocumented students to pay the lower in-state tuition for higher education, provided they are Maryland high school graduates and that their parents have paid state taxes for five years.
“Yes, I would be able to take advantage of it,” one supporter said.
UMBC hosted the official launch of Educating Maryland Kids, the coalition working to get voter approval.
“I’m trying to look for a college right now, but right now my status is probably not going to let me get into college unless I pay outside tuition,” said Jonathan, of Baltimore County.
Opponents argue that only legal residents should qualify for in-state benefits.
“Once people understand what the bill says, it’s pretty obvious, just with their common sense they’re going to vote against using our tax dollars to give to illegal aliens,” Parrott said.
Supporters consider that view shortsighted.
“It’s very important that everyone should get a chance for an education,” a supporter said.
The dreamers will rally in Baltimore on Thursday.
Referendums on same-sex marriage and Maryland redistricting are also on the November ballot.