Maryland voters reaffirmed legislation similar to the Dream Act that has given many undocumented immigrants and their families in-state tuition at public universities. Currently, 11 states have passed a similar law.
The measure, which passed by a 20 percent margin, designates that undocumented immigrants can pay in-state tuition rates if they graduated from a Maryland high school and can provide tax returns for the three years prior. This law helps invest in the people living in our country, regardless of citizenship status. Our priorities should include educating a future workforce of skilled individuals rather than spending time and money trying to bar young people from immigrant families, who are already within our school system, from higher
This is ultimately an immigration issue, as well. Dream Act laws send a message to immigrants both within and outside of the country that states like Maryland will support undocumented individuals who are just trying to make a living here and that they also have a higher chance of becoming citizens. Though the law has its opponents, it only applies to students who have gone through our education and tax system. The legislation, however, is far from perfect. It requires students to earn their associates degree or take 60 credits from a community college before attending a four-year institution. Despite this discrepancy, the law will help hundreds of students in Maryland each year get to a higher education institution.
Maryland’s Dream Act should motivate other states to pass their own laws, especially in states with high immigrant populations. Rather than taking an ideological standpoint against undocumented people in this country, Dream Act laws take a realistic approach to giving undocumented students a legitimate path to higher education.