Saturday, March 2, 2024

Maryland Passes Dream Act

After hours of deliberation over legislation that gives undocumented students access to in-state college tuition rates, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has pledged to sign the bill which could allow students to enroll in college beginning this fall.

“We are already required by federal law to provide education to any child resident, regardless of immigration or naturalization status. The Governor joins the voice of many other states that believe we should not place additional burdens on those students to achieve their dream of higher education,” O’Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said.

Montgomery County’s 32 member state delegation overwhelmingly supported the legislation, which comes with an estimated cost of $778,000 in fiscal year 2014 and up to $3.5 million in fiscal year 2016 to Maryland taxpayers, according to the state’s Department of Legislative Services.

Students must fulfill a number of requirements in order to receive the tuition discount:

  • Attend and graduate from a Maryland high school for 3 years.
  • Attend a community college within the high school’s jurisdiction.
  • Complete an associate’s degree, or 60 credits from a community college
  • Prove that taxes were paid by the student, parent or legal guardian three years before entering college and while attending college.
  • Sign an affidavit stating they will apply for legal residency when they are eligible
  • Enroll with Selective Services, which U.S. male citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to do.

Maryland has now become the 11th state to pass the DREAM Act to provide in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Potomac Patch


  1. marylander says

    Huge win for the immigrant community. After the dream act failed back in December, I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen back home. Undocumented immigrants will now be able to mobilize themselves through educational institutions instead of settling for service sector jobs. At least that’s what I hope. There is, of course, the option to go into the army, but what concerns me about this is that the U.S. government already adamantly targets latina/os as military personnel. While this is a viable mode of social mobility (achieving a higher standard of living for themselves and family), it puts brown bodies at the front lines of a war the majority of us don’t understand and don’t belong in.

    Another thing that concerns me is that the parents who initially migrated into the U.S. are often placed in the shadows of the immigration debacle. Youth latina/o kids have become the poster children of the debate (which is effective and necessary), but what that does is undermine the problems that their parents are dealing with and the histories from which they come from. There is an historical amnesia that surrounds why first generation Latina/os in Central America, Caribbean and Mexico (yes, three different places) have come to the U.S. Many have forgotten that the U.S. played an active role in the recruitment of Mexican’s and Puerto Ricans during the world wars through the Bracero Program and Operation Bootstrap (the numbers that they managed to bring were astronomical, especially in the short amount of time that it was accomplished). Many have forgotten that Salvadorans and Guatemalans escaped civil war in the 80s and 90s and that their dictatorial, iron-fisted governments were backed by the U.S. But now you see that instead of helping and facilitating these political refugees into the broader U.S. society, a lot of current day legislation bars them from mobilizing within their established settlements. That is part of the reason why many first generation Latina/os occupy service sector jobs like construction, landscaping, house keeping, child-care, etc.

    When a person feels ostracized from their communities, they are more susceptible to dropping out of school, joining gangs, and commit crimes. By allowing the Latina/o undocumented youth to access higher level education, streets become less mean, jobs will be created, and the lower and working-class of Maryland will begin to see a higher standard of living and health that will have positive effects for future social and economic initiatives in Maryland.