Maryland DREAM Act Initiative Passes

DREAMers earned a victory in the state of Maryland last night. The state’s voters decided that they supported the DREAM Act initiative that lets some undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition. Maryland makes history because it is the only state that passed legislation similar to the DREAM Act with the support of its citizens.

Question 4 asked if the state should extend in-state tuition rates to some undocumented immigrants who graduate from Maryland high schools. It passed with 57% of the vote.

In order to qualify, undocumented students must have been brought to the U.S. as children and have attended at least three years of high school in Maryland.

These are the conditions: They must meet income tax, permanent residency and selective service registration requirements and attend community college for 60 credit hours. After this, they will be able to enroll at a four-year institution with in-state rates.

Even though this will cost Maryland $3.5 million per year, the state will now benefit from a better educated work force.

Opponents of this initiative argued that the state should not help students who are not authorized to live in the U.S because it will attract more illegal immigration.

The DREAM Act at a national level has been debated in Congress for the last ten years. In July 2011, California enacted an initiative similar to Maryland’s.