Md. Voters to Decide Immigrant Tuition Law

Aaron C. Davis, The Washington Post, July 7, 2011

Opponents of a new law that gives undocumented immigrants in-state tuition discounts at Maryland’s public colleges have gathered enough signatures to suspend the law and force a statewide referendum, election officials said Thursday.

It is the first time in 20 years that a petition drive has forced a vote on a Maryland law.

Under the law, undocumented immigrants who can prove that they have attended Maryland high schools for at least three years and that their parents or guardians have begun paying taxes were to have been allowed to begin courses this fall at community colleges at in-state rates. The measure was approved in the closing hours of this year’s legislative session after years of failed attempts.

{snip}

The success of the Internet petition appears poised to have a profound effect beyond the referendum at hand.

“This issue of illegal immigration tapped into a zeitgeist. With the economy, it was ripe to be the first referendum to succeed in 20 years,” said Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College. “But the way it was done, this will have a major impact, too. Maryland Republicans can now use this as an alternative means to have influence . . . and as a result, same-sex marriage is likely dead in the General Assembly for the near future.”

{snip}

Alisa Glassman, lead organizer of one of those groups [who backed the immigration tuition measure], Action in Montgomery, predicted Thursday that even if the tuition law proceeds to a referendum, proponents would prevail at the ballot box.

“The language used to gather signatures has for the most part been very narrow, mean-spirited and, at times, racist,” Glassman said. “We believe that once a counter-narrative is put out there, one that speaks to the greater good, the Maryland DREAM Law will prevail.”

For a four-year degree, the plan could cost Maryland $40,000 per student, and state analysts had estimated that hundreds of undocumented high-school graduates would begin applying for aid this summer. Immigrant groups say that those students’ college plans are now in limbo, and that for many, college in the fall may be out of reach financially.

{snip}

Opponents needed at least 55,736 signatures, or 3 percent of those who cast ballots in the last statewide election, to push the measure to a vote in November 2012. The board reported Thursday that 63,118 signatures had been validated by local officials. Counting and certifications of signatures will continue for weeks because opponents turned in more than 130,000 signatures. {snip}

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  • Kingoldby

    Really democracy is a scary thing for the political classes.

    I wonder if they will try to fight this in the courts, either to stop the vote or else to overturn the result. That has been their habit so far and they risk a terrible backlash if they continue to show such contempt for actual democracy.

  • Frank

    Don’t worry–the liberals in Mont. County will figure out a way to get the “undocumented” into college at taxpapers expense.

  • Question Diversity

    Unfortunately, the Raza rouzers and the state Democrats are getting ready to “shame and smear” anyone who signed the petition: http://goo.gl/eL8IA

  • Anonymous

    ““The language used to gather signatures has for the most part been very narrow, mean-spirited and, at times, racist,” ”

    I agree, the left is very open about their desire to institute Mexican supremacy…oh, wait, you were talking about the White folks who don’t want to be ethnically cleansed. That makes you a bigot, Mr. Glassman.

  • Anonymous

    I live in a suburb of Baltimore. It’s very liberal. But people are becoming frightened (flash mobs, gangs, hispanics working out in the open, in the supermarkets, etc.), and they are starting to think. I don’t know about the younger people, but the 50 year olds are realizing that, if they lost their jobs, there would be no place for them to go.

    I stopped in a Mickey D’s on York Road the other day–ALL hispanic, with the exception of one +60 year old white woman…A few years ago, this would have been all white teenagers!

  • Sardonicus

    It’s absurd and criminal that illegal immigrants get in-state tuition breaks on Maryland college education; while legal citizens from other states pay excessive amounts. Do our liberal elites hold all law abiding American citizens in utter contempt?

  • Jack

    “I wonder if they will try to fight this in the courts, either to stop the vote or else to overturn the result.”

    That is normally the first tactic, sue over the ballot wording. It is a legal weak spot and where lots of ballot initiatives fail.

    I hope whoever wrote it got it right.

    “Immigrant groups say that those students’ college plans are now in limbo, and that for many, college in the fall may be out of reach financially.”

    So I am supposed to what, feel “sorry” that a group of criminals has been inconvenienced by being prevented from stealing?

  • Anonymous

    I live just above the Maryland line in Pennsylvania but I teach high school in MD. I pay out of state rates to attend a community college in MD in order to earn an additional certification on my teaching license.

    I lived in MD and paid taxes for years there.

    It warms my heart to think that I have to pay out of state rates while illegal aliens get to go for next to nothing.

    What are laws for? Why are we supposed to follow them?

    Our America is failing at an alarming rate.

    We must save ourselves and be prepared.

    Since we don’t follow the rules anymore—can we at least import

    people from somewhere else besides Mexico?

    Thanks