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On a press call today national and state leaders discussed the path to victory for the recently passed DREAM Act in Maryland, which ensures that all Maryland kids whose families pay Maryland taxes are able to pay in-state tuition.
Fred Yang, Partner, Garin Hart Yang Research Group, who has been monitoring support for MD DREAM Act for over a year said, “If you look at the poll from a year ago and the one from 3 days ago it’s clear that Maryland voters have been far ahead than national politicians on this issue. The breadth of support for “Question 4” was impressive—our campaign CLEARLY reached out to a broad coalition, spanning race, region, and party. For example, Question 4 won 70%+ majorities in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. But also won majorities in more rural Frederick County. And our last poll (October 29-30) showed that Question 4 was garnering 57% of Independents and 55% of whites.”
The Maryland DREAM Act campaign brought together several organizations and communities that understood the importance of educational opportunities for the immigrant community in the state. “A broad Coalition of more than 12 organizations from across Maryland came together with the African-American community, faith leaders, and hundreds of youth. They knocked on doors and explained to voters why the Maryland DREAM Act was important. They did an extraordinary job and told Latinos and the immigrant community, you are welcome in this state,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA de Maryland.
The Maryland legislative black caucus played a pivotal role in passing the measure. State Delegate Aisha Braveboy, Chair of the Caucus, shed some light on the caucus’ perspective, “We are not here to compete against each other, we are here to compete against the world. If we’re not educating our young people, if we’re not providing them with opportunities then we won’t move forward and Maryland will not be competitive. The state of Maryland’s potential is in growing all of our communities. This bill provides undocumented youth who want to contribute to Maryland and to this country with an affordable way to do that and become productive members of our society.”
“This signifies a brighter future for me, it has opened new doors and has also allowed me to meet people with my same passion to fight for equality,” said Veronica Saravia, DREAM Act youth leader from Maryland.
“The Maryland DREAM Act is a remarkable victory for the state and for the entire immigration reform movement,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice Education Fund. “This is the first time we’ve seen a statewide referendum on a controversial issue affecting undocumented immigrants not only be approved, but be approved overwhelmingly. This is a huge turning point, not just in Maryland, but nationally as we push forward for immigration reform that puts 11 million undocumented immigrants on the road to citizenship.”
Eliseo Medina, Secretary Treasurer – Service Employees International Union made a clear call for bipartisan action. He said, “Much is being heard about Republicans now being open to talking about immigration reform. We welcome any hint of sanity breaking out but let’s be clear. We don’t want more talk, obstruction or obfuscation. We need action. Just do it.”