Should the Maryland Dream Act Really Be So Controversial?

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With the law up for referendum in November, a coalition of clergy, unions, and at least one university president has formed to uphold the Maryland Dream Act, which would grant in-state tuition rates to (gasp!) “illegal immigrants.”

The group, though it draws from the religious and the secular, left and right, faces an uphill battle. The law is very controversial — more than twice the required number of signatures was reached pretty handily in a Republican-led petition to put it on the ballot as a veto referendum — but should it be?

The Dream Act is normally described in short hand: in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. But it can be misleading. We’re not talking about criminals or freeloaders, here. The bill would only apply to undocumented immigrants who have attended high school in Maryland and whose parents pay state taxes. Not only that, but to take advantage of the in-state tuition, students would have to complete two years at a community college before transferring to a four-year school.

Opponents of the Dream Act plan to form their own campaign to reject the law, “in the coming weeks.”

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