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Md.’s Dream Act Draws Support At National Immigration Convention

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Maryland’s Dream Act gets the attention of a national convention taking place in downtown Baltimore.

Political reporter Pat Warren has new information on the challenge to a law providing in-state tuition to undocumented students.

“Yes, we can” is the rallying cry of undocumented students who could qualify for lower in-state tuition.

“Yes, I would be able to take advantage of it,” said a Dream Act supporter.

“No, we can’t” is the answer from Marylanders who petitioned the law to referendum.

“Our institutions can only hold a certain number of people,” an opponent said.

As Marylanders prepare to vote the law up or down, the National Immigrant Integration Conference is meeting in Baltimore. NAACP Executive Director Ben Jealous supports the Dream Act.

“We may have come here in different boats, but we’re all in the same boat now,” Jealous said.

The executive director of CASA De Maryland tells WJZ their polling shows widespread support.

“The internal polling that we have says that the great majority of voters support it. Sixty percent currently support the Dream Act, so we are very, very excited about this momentum,” said Gustavo Torres.

The law signed last year gives the same tuition benefits enjoyed by legal residents to those here illegally.

Delegate Pat McDonough is a leader in the opposition, which he admits is more grassroots than organized.

“People have a tendency to forget we collected 132,000 signatures in 60 days. As I’ve said before the passion and the anger is what motivated all that stuff and that hasn’t gone away. People still know what this issue is,” McDonough said.

In-state tuition is one of four high-profile ballot questions this year. Voters will also decide on same-sex marriage, expanded gambling and congressional redistricting.

Oct. 16 is the deadline to register to vote in the November election.

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