Nearly a dozen prominent Maryland religious leaders and bishops, including Catholic Archbishop William Lori, Episcopal Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, and Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane joined dozens of people of faith at the chapel at Morgan State University today to stand together in support of the Maryland DREAM Act and urge all Marylanders to vote ‘for’ Question 4.
Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore said, “We are here to support the Dream Act as a fair measure that allows young men and women who have worked hard, who speak our language and call this land home to be able to realize their full potential as God’s children.”
The faith leaders spoke about their church teachings about equality, fairness and care for all children, and called on voters to remember the dreams of all our young people by making sure all Maryland students who’ve paid Maryland taxes and graduated from Maryland high schools can pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities.
“To the citizens of Maryland, I ask you to join me in supporting these young people who have excelled in their studies and been accepted into our community colleges and universities,” said Rev. Peter K. Nord, Executive Presbyter of the Baltimore Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “To the Dreamers, we stand with you today. I believe that your hard work and determination has not been in vain. And my hope for you is that the college education that you now pursue will enable you to become full contributing members and leaders in our Maryland communities.”
The speakers referenced their faith traditions and the religious mandate to offer care and hospitality to others.
“What would Jesus say to us about the alien in our midst especially those innocently brought here not of their own doing?” said Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. “I think he would ask us to welcome them and offer radical hospitality.”
In addition to the moral dimension of the debate, the bishops and religious leaders also made a compelling pragmatic case for passage of the law.
“These kids will graduate college and give back to our society and to our state. Education is always a sound investment,” said Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane of the Delaware- Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “We make significant investments in our children beginning in kindergarten and right through high school. It only makes sense to pursue policies that make our 13-year investment bear fruit.”
The Ecumenical Leaders’ Group of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council sponsored the press conference, the Voice of Praise Gospel Choir of Morgan State University performed, and Rev. Bernard “Skip” Keels, director of the Morgan State University Chapel, gave the opening prayer. A DREAM student named Rosalitta led the participants in a responsive prayer in between each speaker at the press event.
Additional participants included Bishop Denis Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Pastor Alvin J. Gwynn Sr., President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Rev. Frederick Weimert, President of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, Rev. David Cooney, Assistant to Bishop Marcus Matthews, Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Dr. John R. Deckenback, Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ Central Atlantic Conference.
Following the event, dozens of pastors and lay leaders gathered at All Saints’ Lutheran Church for an educational discussion and training on the Maryland DREAM Act.
The Maryland DREAM Act would ensure that students who’ve graduated from a Maryland high school and whose families pay Maryland taxes can pay in-state tuition at our public colleges and universities. DREAM students would have to first attend a community college for 2 years or 60 credits and would be considered in the applicant pool with out-of-state students when they apply to transfer to a four-year university, ensuring no seats for U.S. citizens or legal residents in Maryland are at risk.]]>
The report’s authors, Dr. Marvin Mandell and Dr. Tim Gindling, also point out:“The estimates from this analysis suggest that the net economic effect of the Maryland Dream Act will be positive, and the benefits will be substantial… The initial costs of the investment in education will be more than offset by increased tax revenues and lower government spending on incarceration and other government programs that result from a more educated citizenry.”
The UMBC Report Summary is available here. Large and positive economic benefits are expected to accrue to each level of government as well as for private individuals as DREAM students are able to earn more and pay more in taxes due to their higher level of educational attainment.
Additionally, the report estimates that 435 students per year will take advantage of the DREAM Act to attend college and only 102 students per year transfer to a four-year college or university in the state thanks to the Maryland DREAM Act. The report’s authors point out that this is about 0.1 percent of the 117,187 students enrolled at Maryland public universities in 2012.
The report also debunks the myth that the Maryland DREAM Act will invite an influx of immigrants, saying there is little empirical evidence to support that claim and pointing out that because of the Maryland Dream Act’s restrictions, simply moving to Maryland to take advantage of the Act is unlikely.
Also, students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents of Maryland also have no reason to fear that DREAM students will take a seat that would otherwise have gone to them. Dr. Mandell and Dr. Gindling provide a number of reasons to support their belief that there will not be a “crowding out” effect in Maryland, chiefly that DREAM students must start at community college. And the law specifies that when DREAM students apply to transfer to a four-year institution, they’ll be considered in the pool with out-of-state applicants, so there is no competition between native-born Maryland students and DREAM Act students for spots.
The full report on the Private and Government Fiscal Costs and Benefits of the Maryland Dream Act is available here.
A newly released poll from The Mellman Group once again confirms that Maryland voters overwhelmingly support the Maryland DREAM Act and plan to vote ‘for’ Question 4. The new poll found that 61% of voters across the state support Question 4, with only 27% opposed. The latest poll adds to the growing momentum in favor of the Maryland DREAM Act, which will be Question 4 on the November 6 ballot.
In the last 2 weeks, both a Garin-Hart-Yang poll and a Gonzales Research poll also found strong majority support statewide for the Maryland DREAM Act. The Gonzales Research poll found 58% support, 34% opposition, and 8% undecided and the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group found 60% support, 26% opposition, and 14% undecided. All polls used language either directly from the ballot or the entirety of the ballot language itself.
The Maryland DREAM Act would ensure that all students who graduated from Maryland high schools and whose families pay Maryland taxes are able pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities, regardless of immigration status.
The Mellman Group poll, which used the exact ballot language for Question 4, was conducted September 22-28, 2012 and included a sample of 750 likely voters.
The Garin-Hart-Yang poll asked, “Question Four establishes that individuals, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at community colleges in Maryland, provided the student meets certain conditions relating to attendance and graduation from a Maryland high school, filing of income taxes, intent to apply for permanent residency, and registration with the selective service. This referendum also extends the time in which honorably discharged veterans may qualify for in-state tuition rates.”
The Gonzales poll, whose question language was also directly modeled on the ballot language itself, included 813 registered voters statewide and was conducted September 17-23, 2012.
Educating Maryland Kids, the coalition working to protect the Maryland DREAM Act, is comprised of faith-based, education, civil rights, and labor organizations including SEIU, the Maryland State Education Association, Maryland IAF, Maryland Catholic Conference, NAACP, and CASA de Maryland.
|Allegany County||Anne Arundel County||Baltimore City|
|Baltimore County||Calvert County||Caroline County|
|Carroll County||Cecil County||Charles County|
|Dorchester County||Frederick County||Garrett County|
|Harford County||Howard County||Kent County|
|Montgomery County||Prince George’s County||Queen Anne’s County|
|St. Mary’s County||Somerset County||Talbot County|
|Washington County||Wicomico County||Worcester County|
SOURCE: Maryland State Board of Elections]]>
In mid July I decided that after a year of waiting, I would finally apply to the university I had hope to attend after graduating high school, and by July 30th I was accepted.
Being accepted to Salisbury University meant that I am on the right path to achieving my dream. However, I will not be able to transfer since I would have to pay out-of-state tuition. It’s a struggle paying for school on my own, more so when it is out-of-state tuition.
At the realization that I will not be able to attend Salisbury University to study biochemistry this spring, I felt like a hope was crushed.
The Maryland Dream Act would make it possible and is the only way for me to attend any university I get accepted into without worrying about the financial cost.]]>
Despite the disadvantages faced by this young woman (child), she pushed through and is set to graduate from a Maryland public high school. She wants to pursue a career in the sciences focusing on genetics. Luckily, Maryland is the site of academic institutions, the National Institutes of Health and privately-funded corporations that research genetics for the betterment of all. Who wouldn’t want a young scientist to receive an education in Maryland; to live in Maryland; to pay taxes and contribute to our society?
This young woman simply needs to combine her ambitions with the opportunities available right here in Maryland – award-winning public higher education and a built-in science and technology job market. Of course, her dream of a career in the sciences faces a serious hurdle that others in her graduating class do not – she is undocumented. In her words, she is “undocumented and unafraid.”
I wish I shared her lack of fear for her future. I fear her dreams of further education and a career in science will elude her. You see, undocumented students are required to pay out-of-state tuition rates at Maryland’s public, higher education institutions. However, our legislature passed the Maryland DREAM Act, which simply gives deserving students, like those at the rally in Hopkins Plaza, a chance at a college education by paying in-state tuition rates. Whether the Maryland DREAM Act is implemented and gives the young woman from Anne Arundel County and others like her the opportunity of affordable college education has been put up for a referendum vote in November.
So, there I sat in Hopkins Plaza, listening to a Latino student rally and feeling at once both connected to their cause and far-removed from their struggle. I never had to question whether I would go to college. Indeed, along with my parents, no one was more supportive of my college career than my maternal grandfather.
Born in the Dominican Republic, my grandfather was an immigrant to this country. Through a series of random events (luck) or, if you are so inclined, the guidance of a higher power, he came to this country as a citizen. His father was a United States Marine, who was training forces in the Dominican Republic when he met my great grandmother. I knew her as a spitfire in her 80’s and 90’s but even then at an advanced age, one could see the beautiful, Latin woman of her youth.
Her son, my grandfather, excelled when given the opportunity. He worked on his family’s small farm, dug roads in the middle of nowhere Virginia and joined the Marine Corps – serving in World War II and the Korean War before retiring as an officer. He settled down in Baltimore and rose through the ranks of the construction industry. He eventually founded his own company and went on to build one of the first modern buildings in the Inner Harbor.
Sitting in Hopkins Plaza at a DREAM Act rally just a few blocks away from the building that serves as my daily reminder of my grandfather’s determination, I watched the speeches given by Maryland high school students with a there-but-for-the-grace-go-I feeling and with the knowledge that I would soon return to my office in the Inner Harbor.
While my personal experiences may inform my support of the Maryland DREAM Act, that is only part of the story.
As an attorney, I synthesize facts and the law to form arguments that I hope will be persuasive to my audience. Contrast that approach with those wishing to overturn the Act by playing on fear. They are light on the facts and the law.
The Maryland DREAM Act contains strict requirements that will ensure that the State is not providing in-state tuition to recent Maryland residents without a history of paying taxes to the State. Our legislature passed a version of the DREAM Act that recognized the fundamental fairness of providing our young people with an affordable education and the reality that tax coffers do not fill themselves. The fundamental fairness of the DREAM Act has been espoused by Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a recent candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, who, in discussing the Texas DREAM Act, told the New Hampshire Union Leader in June 2011 that “[t]o punish these young Texans for their parents’ actions is not what America has always been about.”
The Maryland DREAM Act, codified in the Education Article of the Maryland Code at Section 15-106.8, allows undocumented students to pay in-county tuition at community colleges in our State. The students may only receive in-county tuition if they register at community colleges within four years of receiving their Maryland high school diploma or equivalent and meet the following requirements:
After a student receives an associates’ degree or receives 60 credit hours from a community college, they become eligible for in-state tuition at a four-year Maryland university. (Sec. 15-106.8(C)). While the students are eligible for in-state tuition at that point, they, according to law, “may not be counted as in-state student for the purposes of determining the number of Maryland undergraduate students enrolled” at the public university. (Sec. 15-106.8(H)).
The law is not a giveaway to illegal immigrants, despite what some may shout. The law ensures that eligible students will not push aside or get preference over Maryland citizen-students. The Maryland DREAM Act simply allows all children of Maryland taxpayers to be eligible for in-state tuition. The undocumented student must prove herself by attending a community college and then must compete with non-Maryland students for a spot at a public Maryland four-year university. The DREAM Act students who make it to that point must then pay the full freight in-state tuition regardless of their economic background.
After meeting these strict requirements and receiving a college education in Maryland, the DREAM Act students will have the academic tools necessary to produce bio-genetic breakthroughs or design and construct the next skyscraper in Baltimore for lawyers, bankers and insurance company executives to occupy.
– Matthew T. Vocci]]>
For Maryland DREAMers, America is the only country they know and Maryland is the state they call home. Watch our new video to learn more about these kids who call Maryland home.
As President Obama recently said, these young people are “Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”
Help us celebrate the 4th of July by celebrating these kids and their futures. Please watch this video, share it with your friends, and pledge your support to vote for the MD DREAM Act this November.
In a meeting held last Thursday night, the Montgomery College Board of Trustees voted to take a position in support of the ballot question on the Maryland Dream Act.The resulting resolution, approved at the meeting, says: “…there are many reasons for support of the Dream Act, including that it benefits both the students and the community by providing a valuable, better educated workforce, encouraging not only high school graduation but enabling higher education training at a tuition cost that is affordable and otherwise, without this Act, out of reach for most of these students; it leverages the public investment already made in these students in the K–12 school system; and it costs the taxpayers and the College very little and, in fact, the College may actually lose money if these students were not eligible for the lowest rate of tuition.”
Watch a short video that highlights the thoughts of Board Chair Stephen Kaufman and Dr. Pollard immediately following the vote. Read the Board’s resolution.]]>
But unless we protect the Maryland DREAM Act, our in-state tuition law, these talented students can’t make their dreams a reality. Sign our pledge and let the students know you stand with them. Let them know that education shouldn’t be a dream.
These are Maryland kids, whose families pay Maryland taxes. They should pay Maryland in-state tuition—simple as that.
These kids have so much to offer; let’s give them a chance.
Sign the pledge now: education shouldn’t be a dream.]]>