WASHINGTON – Supporters of the Maryland Dream Act are optimistic, even after the state’s highest court ruled this week that the law could go to a referendum this fall.
“I’m very optimistic.” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown says. “I’m not overly confident, in the sense that it’s still a lot of hard work, we need to be focused and disciplined. We’re raising money. We’re raising awareness.”
But he adds “there is still a lot of work to make sure that the Maryland Dream Act is a reality.”
Opponents of the law have gathered tens of thousands of signatures to force the referendum. They say the law could lead to students who could be deported, getting school slots that would otherwise go to legal residents.
The Dream Act lets illegal immigrants who spend at least their last three years of high school in Maryland and show that they or their parents filed a state tax return, pay in-state tuition at a community college, and then at another Maryland school once they earn an associate’s degree.
“We want our young people in this state, regardless of immigration status, to be as productive, and make the greatest contribution that they can,” says Brown. “And we know that higher education is a vehicle to do that.”
Maryland voters are also expected to vote this fall on whether to repeal another law championed by Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration, same-sex marriage.