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'DREAMERS' Kick Off Tuition Law Fight at UMBC

Supporters say law gives students who are illegal immigrants "a level playing field."

Karina is a "Dreamer." She says she's not the only one.

The 22-year-old illegal immigrant and Montgomery College student spoke Wednesday at a news conference at the to kick off Educating Maryland Kids, an effort to pass the Maryland DREAM Act.

"My mother has always told me that education is the path to my success and I very much believe that," said the woman who was only identified by her first name.

Karina, who plans on graduating next year with dual associate degrees in general studies and mental health, called for support for a bill that would grant in-state tuition rates to students like herself who are in this country illegally or are considered undocumented immigrants.

The law that would grant that opportunity will go before the voters in November after narrowly passing the General Assembly in 2011. Opponents collected nearly 109,000 signatures of registered Maryland voters, nearly twice the required number, to force the issue to the ballot.

Educating Maryland Kids, a coalition of groups including the Catholic church and other faith-based, education, civil rights, and labor unions, kicked off its efforts to educate voters and uphold the recently passed tuition bill.

"The Catholic church supports the DREAM Act because we believe that every person, regardless of their legal status is a child of God," said Bishop Denis Madden, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. "As a church and as a community, we flourish when we strive to provide the opportunity for every person to reach their full potential and to develop the unique God-given gifts that they have been given.

"We are convinced that when Marylanders know the facts about the DREAM Act, that they will happily embrace the chance to do the right thing for our young people," Madden said.

Del. Pat McDonough, a Middle River Republican and a leading opponent of the law, said the coordinated effort to support the law is not a surprise. He said opponents will not be able to match the money he expects groups like Educating Maryland Kids to spend before the election.

"We don't have O'Malley money, and we don't have SEIU union money, and we don't have any angels saying, 'Here's some money, go out and tell the truth.'" McDonough said. "What we have are people across the state who believe this is wrong."

McDonough plans to hold his own news conference Thursday in Middle River—an unofficial kick-off to defeat the measure, he said.

The Republican delegate Tuesday criticized Freeman Hrabowski, president of the , for .

"He's a public official and his salary is paid for by the taxpayers of Maryland," McDonough said. "What right does he have to advocate for breaking the law?"

The University System of Maryland has twice voted to support the law.

Hrabowski said the event, even though it was held at his university, was not a university-sponsored event—though he said he personally supports the effort.

"As an american educator, I have a special belief that the more we can do to educate the children in this country, the better off our country will be," Hrabowski said. "In fact, I would argue that it is our way as Americans, to believe in our children.

"Children need to know that adults believe in them and that they appreciate the power of of education to transform lives. Where would we be without an education?"

Joe August 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM
(steviegirl, fifa the foot fairy, jag-off, Frankiegirl, etc) hehehehehe
jag August 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM
You seriously think these children broke the law? Really??? So if a adult speeds or drives without a licence (a similar, civil infraction) then the child in the backseat should be charged with breaking the law as well??? Can you explain the logical, ethical, practical, or economic reasoning behind such a backwards viewpoint, please???? The alternative of demanding these in-state children of tax-filing parents be encouraged to NOT attend in-state schools is, obviously, remarkably short-sighted. Would I rather these kids go to college and realize their potential as educated, productive, tax-paying members of society or would I rather demand that they be forced into the underclass, pay less in taxes, and consume more in govt. services? The answer to that is clear and obviously to anyone who comes to the debate unadulterated by nonsensical misconceptions and fears (e.g. your rant about UMBC - that blog post supports the opposite of what you're saying, btw).
Steve August 27, 2012 at 02:51 PM
LOL I will take my public school education over any private school education any time!
DawnP August 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM
"...having to call people names, they have no facts or figures to back up ANYTHING they say. They are just a bunch of blowhards..." Are you being intentionally ironic? Or do you think that your 98% / 2% insult counts as "facts and figures"?
Michael Brown August 27, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The ignorance and hate expressed by some bloggers is disgusting - on both sides. Some on the left don't want to recognize that there is a problem and some on the right don't want to recognize that these are human children. Children raised in America as Americans. Some want to threaten these children and take away whatever dignity they can strip from them. Whatever makes Americans an American has little to do with where they come from, what language they speak, what religion they have, their color, or their ethnicity. What makes Americans American is their support for and defense of the Constitution of the United States. As an American you must accept that "all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." That is the Constitution that defines America. Many of the early immigrants came here to escape poverty, religious and political persecution, or other conditions that robbed them of those inalienable rights. As did the parents of these children. Yes, we need to do a better job at controlling our borders. As a nation, we have a right to limit immigration. However, the children identified in the Dream Act are as American as our children except for where they were born. These children are here and want to be Americans. Wouldn't be easier and less expensive for everybody to stop discriminating against them and, rather, provide a path to citizenship?

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