Reporting Pat Warren
LANGLEY PARK, Md. (WJZ)– Supporters of a controversial question on the Maryland November ballot take to the streets.
Political reporter Pat Warren explains hundreds of students rallied in Langley Park in Prince George’s County in favor of the Dream Act.
The rallying students– many of them undocumented– see their future successes in the Dream Act, a bill passed and signed into law last year allowing undocumented students to attend college at the same tuition rate as legal residents of Maryland.
“I feel as American as anybody else,” said Ricky Campos, a native of El Salvador. “I enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, all those things. Even Independence Day. I feel fully American.”
“For many children who came here with their parents when they were one or two years old, America is the only country they’ve ever known. It’s the country they love,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said.
State Delegate Pat McDonough is a vocal opponent.
“The other side, I think, will try and manipulate people and say, ‘Oh, it’s for the children,’ and you know, ‘What are we going to do with these kids?’ and all that emotional stuff,” he said.
After the governor signed it into law last year, 132,000 Marylanders signed a petition to put the Dream Act on the ballot.
“People basically understand that at the root of this issue is it’s a taxpayer subsidy for folks who are here unlawfully,” McDonough said.
These students hope to convince voters that their legal status should not be a barrier to affordable education.
In addition to the Dream Act, Marylanders will vote on expanded gambling, same-sex marriage and congressional redistricting.
Early voting in Maryland starts Oct. 27.