Immigration advocates cheered across Maryland as the state’s voters approved a “Dream Act” ballot initiative that allows some illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition rates to attend college.
The measure passed, 57% to 43%, with large majorities in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and narrowly meeting majority approval in Baltimore County.
The initiative, called Question 4, says undocumented students can attend community college as long as students graduate from high school and meet income tax, permanent residency and selective service registration requirements. Then, with 60 credit hours or a degree from a community college, those students can enroll at a four-year public school with in-state tuition rates.
The law had passed the Legislature and was signed by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley before opponents mounted a petition drive with more than 100,000 signatures that forced the issue to the ballot box for approval.
After the results came in on Tuesday night, Casa de Maryland, which claims to be the largest immigrant advocacy group in Maryland, tweeted, “WE DID IT!!!! OUR DREAM CAME TRUE!!!”
“Tonight, Marylanders chose to make the dream of a college education a reality for every child by voting for DREAM,” O’Malley said in his own tweet.
Opponents worried that the new allowances would entice more undocumented immigrants to move to Maryland.