Opponents launch Maryland petition drive to repeal in-state tuition for illegal immigrants
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland: A petition to repeal a recently approved bill to allow for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is making the rounds. The legislation in question was approved by both houses of the Maryland General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session.
Senate Bill 167, also known as "Maryland's Dream Act," would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state or in-county tuition at Maryland colleges. However, in order to qualify students are required to have attended a Maryland high school for three years, as well as prove that their parents or themselves paid taxes. Initially, students that qualify would have to attend a community college. However, after two years, the students can transfer to a four year university. According to reports, the legislation is estimated to cost $3.5 million by 2016.
The bill remains pending Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature. It was supported by immigrant advocacy groups such as Casa de Maryland. According to reports, Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the bill.
Supporters of a referendum and opponents of the legislation include a Maryland group called "Help Save Maryland." According to reports, Delegate Neil Parrott supports the proposed referendum. Other legislators in support of a referendum include: House Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell, Del. Justin Ready, Del. Patrick McDonough, Del. Steve Schuh and Del. Nicholaus Kipke.
In late April, supporters launched MDPetitions.com. The site serves not only as a website in support of the proposed measure but also as a method to circulate initiative petitions and donate to the effort.
In order to qualify a veto referendum on the statewide ballot, a minimum of 55,736 valid petition signatures must be submitted. The state's distribution law requires that no more than half of the required signatures be from any one county or the City of Baltimore. According to state law, the deadline to submit the first third of signatures for a veto referendum in Maryland is 40 days after the legislation is signed into law.
- The Baltimore Sun, "Delegate to challenge in-state tuition measure," April 18, 2011
- The Washington Examiner, "Md. law granting illegals reduced tuition to cost millions," April 17, 2011
- The New York Times, "Maryland: Bill Giving Tuition Breaks to Immigrants Is Sent to Governor," April 12, 2011
- The Capital, "Opponents of illegal immigrant tuition bill launch petition drive," April 27, 2011
- Hispanically Speaking News, "DREAM Act Foes in Maryland Plan to Sue and Others Want Ballot Referendum," April 26, 2011
- MarylandReporter.com, "Petition Drive to Repeal In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants Gets Underway But New Signature Guidelines Needed," April 17, 2011 (dead link)