Senate Bill 167 faces public vote in November 2012



“As a second generation immigrant myself, I consider myself a proponent of legal immigration,” says Botwin. “However, I cannot support those people who abuse the system.”

Entangled in the issue of the Maryland Dream Act is the support of illegal immigration. By providing illegal immigrants with government services, the opposition feels that they are then encouraging the illegal action.

“They legally cannot work in this country, cannot get a driver’s license, and cannot vote, so therefore they are a bad investment,” says Botwin.

Washington County Delegate Neil Parrott is also vehemently opposed to the extension of in state tuition to illegal immigrants. He and Botwin both say that the bill will act as a gateway for greater aid in illegal immigration and fear its impact on the legal tax payers and prospective college students.

“"If you were in their place, breaking the law and entering the country illegally, would you go to a state with strict immigration laws and harsh punishments or would you go to a state that offers benefits, such as subsidized education and free healthcare,” says Parrott. “The answer is obvious, and these types of policies will only attract more illegal aliens to our state, leading to even more benefits and programs for them."

Chesapeake College Junior Ashley Toulson also worries about the amount of aid which will be extended to the illegal immigrant which may infringe on the aid of the legal student.

“It is difficult to see legal students like myself struggle to pay for tuition, but it is even more frustrating to see illegal students receiving similar basic benefits while not even following our laws,” says Toulson. “I pay taxes and legally reside in Maryland and that is why I deserve resident tuition.”

Current Status of the Dream Act

The fate of Senate Bill 167 will be decided on by Maryland voters in the 2012 gubernatorial election. It is expected that both sides of the issue will continue to advocate their opinions and inform Marylanders of the implications of their decision.

“With the overwhelming support the petition drive received from Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and the Unaffiliated, it is clear how the voters feel about this law. They do not want their tax dollars going to benefit those who have broken our laws,” says Parrott. “It just doesn't make sense, and I believe the people of Maryland will vote this bill down in November of 2012.”

Both sides of the issue remain positive and will continue their campaigns until November. “The only way Maryland will continue to thrive is if we embrace all who wish to contribute to our great State,” said Brown.

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