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Washington Post, Religious Leaders Voice Support FOR Maryland’s Question 4

by Van Le on 10/11/2012 at 2:06pm

Earlier this week we wrote about a new University of Maryland Baltimore County study finding that the passage of Maryland’s Question 4 (a vote in favor of that state’s DREAM Act) will generate $66 million in economic benefits for the state:

Maryland’s Dream Act, if approved by voters on Nov. 6, would lure more illegal immigrants to public colleges and cost more than state analysts have predicted. But over decades the measure’s “net benefits” could far outweigh costs, returning tens of millions to the state for each class that earns advanced degrees, according to a new study.

The report, by the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, is one of the most ambitious attempts to fill in the blanks on Question 4, the Maryland ballot measure whose costs and effects are among the least well understood. It concludes that some 435 students in each graduating class would take advantage of the Dream Act to attend college. About 185 of those would be induced to graduate from Maryland high schools because of the law.

The many benefits of the Maryland DREAM Act and passing Question 4–moral, practical, and economic—have brought the Washington Post onboard.  Here’s an excerpt from their editorial today, noting that these benefits accrue to Maryland despite Question 4 not affecting very many immigrant students at all.  Given that reality, it would be a shame for Maryland to deny greater opportunity to its aspiring citizens by doing away with the state DREAM Act.

Those findings are all the more impressive given that relatively few students are estimated to be likely beneficiaries of the Dream Act. About 1,300 undocumented young people would be enrolled in state community colleges or universities at any one time — just 0.6 percent of Maryland’s overall enrollment in public colleges and universities…

It is self-defeating folly for Maryland, or any other state, to educate students through high school, as they are required to do by law, then deny even the most promising among them further opportunities. Marylanders hardly need an academic study to explain the benefits of a more highly educated citizenry. As long as they have such a study, though, it should settle any lingering debates about the merits of the Dream Act, a surefire investment in the state’s economic prospects.

This week, nearly a dozen prominent Maryland religious leaders and bishops have also come on board, gathering dozens of people of faith together at Morgan State University to rally in support of the Maryland DREAM Act and urging residents to vote FOR Question 4.  At their event, they raised spiritual as well as practical arguments in favor of Question 4, via press release:

“What would Jesus say to us about the alien in our midst especially those innocently brought here not of their own doing?” said Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. “I think he would ask us to welcome them and offer radical hospitality.”

In addition to the moral dimension of the debate, the bishops and religious leaders also made a compelling pragmatic case for passage of the law.

“These kids will graduate college and give back to our society and to our state. Education is always a sound investment,” said Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane of the Delaware- Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  “We make significant investments in our children beginning in kindergarten and right through high school. It only makes sense to pursue policies that make our 13-year investment bear fruit.”

It is for all these reasons that the anti-immigrant ALIPAC is apparently freaking out over the possibility that their side might lose the fight over Question 4.  Yesterday they sent out an email enjoining their supporters to help them do something about a potential loss: “WE HAVE BAD NEWS COMING OUT OF MARYLAND THAT OUR SIDE IS ON THE VERGE OF LOSING DUE TO LACK OF ORGANIZATION AND THAT IS SOMETHING YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO FIX. Take the initiative and turn it around ALIPACers!” (CAPS theirs)

We have bad news for them.  The arguments AND the numbers are on our side.

If you live in Maryland, vote FOR Question 4. Make sure your friends and family who live in the state are registered — and are voting FOR Question 4.

In Maryland, residents have until October 16th to register.  More info on how to do it here.

 

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