The 2011 Maryland Legislature passed Senate Bill 167, known as the Maryland Dream Act, which granted in-state tuition to certain illegal alien students living in Maryland if they met specific criteria set forth in the legislation. The legislation would cost Maryland taxpayers $3.5 million by 2016, according to the fiscal summary in Senate Bill 167.
But many of Maryland’s hard working, taxpaying residents didn’t agree with the so-called wisdom of the Maryland Legislature. So a coalition of Maryland residents set out to gather signatures to place a referendum on the ballot to let the voters of Maryland decide for themselves if they are willing to bear the financial burden of paying for the college educations of people who are not legally present in the United States, let alone Maryland.
Well, the people of Maryland spoke loud and clear, just as they had to the legislators before they passed the bill. The coalition handily gathered more than twice the number of signatures required by law to place the referendum on the ballot in 2012.
But a Maryland illegal alien advocacy organization sees this Dream Act referendum by the people as, “[J]ust the beginning of the big fight you’re going to have over the next 12 to 15 months.” So stated Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland, a Latino and minority rights advocacy group that thinks all state benefits and services should be made available to illegal aliens. The group expects to raise between $3 million and $5 million for an educational campaign it will launch with the help of 25 other organizations, Torres said.
Torres’ retort to the people of the referendum begs the next question: If Casa de Maryland can raise between $3 and $5 million for an educational campaign to fight the voters and taxpayers of Maryland, why doesn’t Casa de Maryland just use that money to pay the difference between in-state tuition and the full-tuition rate the illegal alien students will cost the state for the next 4-6 years?