Photo: Maryland May be First to Pass a State DREAM Act
Maryland could become the first state in America to pass its own version of the DREAM Act by referendum.
The proposal will appear as Question 4 on the ballot in the Nov. 6 elections.
A new Washington Post poll shows 59 percent of likely voters support the idea, while 35 percent are opposed.
Should it be approved, young undocumented residents in Maryland - the so-called DREAMers - would be allowed to pay in-state tuition at public universities and community colleges.
In the current situation, an undocumented youth living in Maryland must pay around $25,554 a year, while someone legally in Maryland pays $7,175.
The state legislature passed a law to lower tuition rates for undocumented students and Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law in May, but that was quickly opposed by some Republicans, who hastened to collect signatures to force a referendum on the measure.
Though other states including California, New York, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Illinois and New Mexico have also introduced bills or already have laws favoring an equivalent cost of tuition, Maryland will be the first to submit the matter to a popular vote.
To qualify for in-state tuition under the Maryland DREAM Act, it will be sufficient for undocumented youths to prove that they have studied at a school in the state during the last three years and that their parents pay taxes.