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'Dream Act' Opponents Tally Twice the Required Signatures

State elections board has until July 22 to make results official. Meanwhile, supporters and opponents gird for campaign to win voters over ahead of 2012 election.

Opponents of the Maryland “Dream Act” have cleared their most important hurdle, with validated signatures totaling twice as many as needed to send the would-be law to referendum next year.

Elections officials verified the final batch of signatures on Thursday afternoon. Of the more than 76,000 submitted on the June 30 deadline, 63,118 were deemed valid.

That brings the total to 110,346 valid signatures amassed since Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law in May. The Dream Act would allow recent high school graduates who are in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements, including attending a state high school for at least three years and that their parents pay state taxes.

The Maryland State Board of Elections has until July 22 to certify the results. Administrator Linda Lamone expects to take the full two weeks so that Dream Act supporters have the full time to weigh their options on taking the issue to court.

“The process is structured in a manner to give interested parties time to examine issues,” Lamone said. “… It’s an orderly process that’s followed and everybody is on notice.”

Dream Act supporters have challenged the petition drive on two fronts.

The ACLU of Maryland has questioned the validity of MDpetitions.com, the first time that a state referendum drive has gone online to gather signatures.

And Casa of Maryland will be given the names of every signature under provisions of the Maryland Public Information Act, so that they can “independently verify” the signatures. The three state delegates leading the anti-Dream Act push will be given the same information.

Dream Act opponents say that the collection of so many signatures in less than two months sends a message on how much opposition there is, and renders any would-be challenges to the signature count moot.

“The numbers are just too overwhelming,” said Sue Payne, an organizer for Rally for America.

Maryland Secretary of State John P. McDonough will decide how the question is worded on the November 2012 ballot.

A coalition of clergy leaders and immigrant advocates is undeterred in defending the Dream Act, and will ratchet up their efforts to convince voters that the law is morally and fiscally sound.

“[T]he theology of love will triumph over hate,” the coalition said in a statement issued Friday night. “We believe that investing in our children is critical for a successful Maryland. And, we trust that once Marylanders do the math, they will understand the fiscal and moral import to ensure the MD DREAM Law prevails.”

By The Numbers

Here's a breakdown of anti-Dream Act signatures, by county.

Baltimore County

26,023

Harford

12,758

Anne Arundel

Carroll

12,674

11,056

Frederick

7,392

Washington

5,778

Howard

5,517

Montgomery

4,855

Baltimore City

3,658
Dave Francis July 10, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Remember foreign nationals have been voting in federal and State elections; authorities are should be obligated to ID everybody who registers. This is about illegal immigration? An immigrant is not illegal and people need to be enlightened. Highly skilled Professional workers are always welcome, not indigent ECONOMIC illegal aliens who are driving this country, into a third world condition. We cannot accommodate any longer those who come here to steal welfare and public benefits from legitimate Americans. It is estimated that illegal aliens send home by wire transfer around $40 billion dollars annually, that should be going into state treasuries. Don't hesitate to reach the Senate phone switchboard—202-224–3121 and House—202-225–3121, and inform them you will not be manipulated into another clandestine Amnesty, disguised as the DREAM ACT.
123BOOM July 10, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Dave: Very well put and thank you for the information. It is beyond belief that even as they illegals are violating federal law, not only are they in this country, they openly flaunt their illegal status. We must hold "all" politicals and law enforcement responsible.
Don O'Neill July 10, 2011 at 04:13 PM
I favor the Dream Act because I want every child to have a chance in life without unnecessary obstacles. Nevertheless, I believe it is fine for it to be on the ballot because it provides an opportunity for a teachable moment... and an opportunity to demonstrate leadership. I urge the Montgomery County Executive and County Council and the Maryland delegation to make public commitments to the Dream Act.
Erick July 10, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Let's see who is going to have a bloody nose in the next election. This is not about giving something for free, it is about giving access to in-state tuition to those who are trapped in our broken immigration system. It is higher education for Marylanders.
123BOOM July 10, 2011 at 05:33 PM
Erick, the only reason the immigration system "seems" broken, is because the laws are not enforced..... I would love to see you walk into Mexico with your family, get a job, have and send your children to their schools and walk into their hospitals when you are ill. I am sure you would have one of those "teachable" moments that Don was talking about. If the Federal government was enforcing the laws of the land, they would hold Govenor O'Malley and the state of Maryland in violation of the immirgration law for knowing harboring and supporting illegals. This is all about political power and votes.
Shane Robinson July 10, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Under the DREAM Act if you pay Maryland taxes you get Maryland rates. Makes sense to me.
JGalt July 11, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Del. Robinson how much does an average Maryland high school student or two-year community college student pay in Maryland state income taxes? If that student is not a US citizen would it not be an illegal act for an employer to hire them in the first place? Why not welcome them to become legal citizens prior to granting them the privileges of said citizenship?
Shane Robinson July 11, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Immigration is a federal issue. The Maryland DREAM Act is about affordable education for young students trying to better themselves right here in our communities. Education, and what students have to pay for it, is something that we can work on at the state level.
Jeff Hawkins July 11, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Since the Federal Government is either unable or unwilling to address the illegal immigration issue, then apparently it's up to each State to "wrestle" with this issue on it's own. To go even a step further and put this issue "on the ballot" for each Marylander to decide for themselves is the right way to go. It is up to the "people" of our State to decide, afterall.........it's the Democratic way!
123BOOM July 11, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I agree Jeff. But look at the voters of Arizona, they instituted a "state law" and the Federal government went to the courts to squash it. Did you know that Montgomery Community Colleges have been giving illegals in-state tuition for years. They base in-state tuition not on "citizenship", but if an applicant has attended a Maryland HS for 2 consecutive years. Where is the uproar over that?? Maryland politics is a "ship of fools" and should be sunk, once and forever.
Jeff Hawkins July 11, 2011 at 03:41 PM
You are correct Boom. Hopefully.....depending on what happens in the 2012 election, the issue on how the Federal Government is responding will eventually be corrected. Elections do indeed "have consequences" and this is what as a nation we are sadly dealing with today.........in so many areas I might add. As for local politics all I can say is that I'm a native Rockville person, been around a long time. Maryland / Montgomery County has one of the best "well-oiled" political machines in the country.....much like Illinois / Chicago and this is not a good thing. This will never change....too ingrained to overcome. It will eventually be the ruin of the County, it's already started. If you want to hear "uproar" you must leave Montgomery, Prince George's Counties and Baltimore to hear it.
Piotr Gajewski July 11, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Jeff, What is it that you want to see “corrected?” This from a Washington Post story last summer: “The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush administration's 2008 total and 25 percent more than were deported in 2007. The pace of company audits has roughly quadrupled since President George W. Bush's final year in office.” Jeff: are you arguing for returning to the laxer enforcement we had under Bush?
Jeff Hawkins July 11, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Piotr, To be factual, I did not state that "I" wanted to see the issue "corrected". I did state that in my opinion that I thought it will be eventually "corrected". Piotr: No, I'm not suggesting that we return to the enforcement practices under Bush, never suggested that at all. I hate to assume things, but I sense you see a Democrat / Republican issue here. I merely see it as a "legal" issue and I believe with exit of the Obama administration.....which by the way.....will eventually happen..... there will be a "correction" on Federal policy of perhaps stricter enforcement at the borders itself (so we don't have to deport so many) and perhaps allowing each State to handle their own issues without "too much" interference.
Jeff Hawkins July 11, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Piotr, In addition I would ask. If the current administration is doing such a good job of deportation, then what is up with Maryland and in particular Montgomery County? It would then appear that Maryland / Montgomery is flying smack dab into the face of the Obama adminstration's policy. This would be peculiar given the heavily Democrat leaning of this County. Where is the public outcry from the citizen's of Montgmery County concerning the vastly increased deportations under Obama?
Piotr Gajewski July 11, 2011 at 07:23 PM
Jeff, I hope all agree that laws should be enforced and if the Obama administration is doing a better job than the Bush administration then that is a good thing. If we do not like the result, we should change the law. As far as delineating what is the appropriate federal role vs. the state role on this issue – that will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, regardless of the administration in power. And when it comes to educating kids: I would like to see all kids who excel in academics (i.e. those willing to put in the work) have access to higher education through some mechanism. Yes, there is a cost; but the cost of not educating talented, hard working, individuals is much higher.
Jeff Hawkins July 11, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Piotr, Your 1st paragraph: I agree with 100% Your 2nd paragraph: We will have to wait and see I guess. Your 3rd and last paragraph: I agree 100% as long as they are legal citizen's or are on some sort of guest Visa. The key word being "legal" I suppose.
Alffie July 13, 2011 at 10:36 AM
I've been a poll worker and where I live no one gets a voter information card before having their registration checked. It's a blatant lie to say that non-citizens are voting left and right.. if they somehow get through the system it's a small margin and not something that's common (as you're implying). Also, those without social security numbers cannot apply for welfare, just like the President Obama couldn't have applied for the presidency without showing his id, birth certificate, and other documents (these example relate as they show the same illogical, stupid reasoning used in this country to promote division and hatred). Dream act kids are different than other immigrants in the sense that they are fully integrated/assimilated into American society. They are not sending money " back home" b/c they grew up here and have little ties with the countries they came from. It makes economic sense to let them develop into productive adults instead of stopping their progress. People who are idle turn to all sorts of deviant behavior and often times violent crime out of desperation (sociology 101). They already speak the language and embrace the culture, it can't cause anyone harm by letting them acquire skills that will make our country more competitive on a global scale. You're an idiot for wanting to see people oppressed and living in misery.
Jeff Hawkins July 13, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Alffie, Here is just one item. I could provide many more, but there is a "space" issue. " In 2004, a Maryland state legislator contacted the DOJ to express his concern that the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles was allowing non-citizens apply­ing for driver's licenses to register to vote. When he asked the DMV to stop, he was told that it was required by the NVRA to offer all driver's license applicants the opportunity to register to vote. The Justice Department quickly sent the Maryland dele­gate a letter pointing out that the NVRA had no such requirement and that federal law makes it a crime for a non-citizen to register. The letter went on to say that a state that issues licenses to non-cit­izens should not offer such an individual the right to register to vote. Nonetheless, there is no evi­dence that the Maryland DMV has changed its pro­cedures to deter non-citizens from registering, and Maryland officials recently testified that they were issuing 2,000 driver's licenses per week to undocu­mented aliens." To state that "illegals" are NOT voting is in error. You might "wish" they weren't voting, but somehow they are doing it. So to accuse someone of a blatant lie is wrong. Your personal experience may justify your statement, but it does not count for the "big " picture. It appears that if anything, based on your own words.....you are the one who seems to have a "hate" issue with calling people "idiots", "stupid".
Doug R July 22, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Good answer Councilman. I agree. This bill is a worthy and solid investment in Maryland's future. I for one will be voting to keep this law on the books. Proudly, I might add. Judging by the amount of blatant misinformation on this thread, there will be a lot of effort underway to convince fair-minded Marylanders that this bill is unfair or costing taxpayers too much money. Ignorance is far, far more expensive. These are AMERICAN kids who through know fault of their own find themselves in that situation. Charing them out-of-state tuition will deny hundreds or thousands of them access to a good education. That would be so morally wrong, I just might have to get involved in this campaign and fight for those who don't have enough voices already on their side.
Doug R July 22, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Illegals are NOT voting. This is blatantly wrong and absurd misinformation. There are probably more legitimate citizens who are prevented from voting by unnecessary and intentionally drafted laws that are making harder for people to vote and register to vote of late by all these wacky Republican legislatures all over the country. It is interesting that Republicans are usually trying to restrict legitimate voters access to voting while Democrats tend to try to increase it. THAT is a legitimate partisan issue.
123BOOM July 24, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Let's open our arms, embrace and invite the federal government into our sate, instead of becoming a sanctuary haven. Huge increases in deportations of people after they were arrested for breaking traffic or immigration laws or driving drunk helped the "Obama administration set a record " last year for the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the country, documents show. The U.S. deported nearly 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, half of whom were considered criminals. Of those, 27,635 had been arrested for drunken driving, more than double the 10,851 deported after drunken driving arrests in 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided to The Associated Press. An additional 13,028 were deported last year after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier, according to the data. The spike in the numbers of people deported for traffic offenses as well as a 78 percent increase in people deported for immigration-related offenses renewed skepticism about the administration's claims that it is focusing on the most dangerous criminals.
Jeff Hawkins July 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Doug in Rockville: Hey Doug.....you couldn't be THE Doug from Rockville could you? Your comment: "I for one will be voting to keep this law on the books. Proudly, I might add." (I guess I will be "cancelling out" your vote with my vote Doug.....proudly too :) Your comment: "just might have to get involved in this campaign and fight for those who don't have enough voices already on their side." (are you a "gamechanger" Doug?).....cue the Superman TV show music.... Jeff in Rockville.....

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