ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—A dream turned reality for thousands of Maryland students after voters pass the state’s Dream Act.
Monique Griego has more on what it means for undocumented immigrants.
The Dream Act passed 58 to 42 percent Tuesday night.
It will allow some undocumented immigrants in Maryland to pay in-state tuition.
After 10 years of fighting, campaigning and hoping, Maryland dreamers are waking up to a new reality after voters pass the Maryland Dream Act, which gives qualifying undocumented immigrants access to in-state college tuition.
“I was doing my homework. I just stopped doing my homework. I didn’t know what to do. I was so happy,” said 19-year-old Cindy Kolade.
Kolade is a student at Baltimore City Community College. As an undocumented immigrant, she struggles to pay out-of-state tuition, which is around three times the in-state rate.
“It is really stressful,” she said.
Now with the passage of the Dream Act, her road to higher education just got a little easier.
“These kids have been fighting for this for so long, some of them like half their lives,” said Liz Alex, Casa de Maryland.
In order to qualify for the Maryland Dream Act, students had to have attended a Maryland high school for three years and also have to prove their parents pay taxes.
“This will allow a lot of students like myself to go to community college and transfer to a four-year university,” said Jesus Perez, who came to United States when he was 5 years old.
“When you’re in school in America, that’s what they push you to go to school, get an education and go to college,” Perez said.
But Perez didn’t think he’d be able to afford college until Tuesday night.
Now he and other dreamers say their hopes are becoming a reality.
“Just to have a better life here in America. The American dream as they call it,” Perez said.
“The dreamers are not going to deceive Maryland. We’re going to bring a lot of good stuff to Maryland,” Kolade said.
Unlike the federal act, Maryland’s Dream Act does not address citizenship in any way.
Supporters hope students will able to use the Dream Act starting in January.