On November 6, 2012, Marylanders supported Question 4 by a margin of 58%-42%. Governor Martin O’Malley supported the Dream Act and was an advocate for it to pass. The Act was originally passed in Marcy 2011, but was put back on the ballot for the election as a referendum. The DREAM Act includes two major developments. The first part is granting legal status for illegal immigrants who entered the United States before the age of sixteen. The second development allows the immigrants to attend public universities and gives in-state tuition.
Under the first major provision, the DREAM Act would allow unauthorized immigrant youth to obtain the status of Conditional Permanent Resident for an initial period of six years, and then apply for permanent residence and eventual citizenship, if they have met certain criteria. The law gives undocumented immigrants a break on in-state tuition rates if they attend a Maryland high school for three years and if they or their parents can show they filed state income taxes during that time.
The effects on college acceptances for American citizens will be effected by the act applies to access to community college first, which is open enrollment, so no slots of Maryland students are at risk. Students who complete 60 credits at a community college and qualify for acceptance to a four-year public college/university also do not influence other in-state applicants. The legislation specifically addresses this issue by indicating the in-state: out-of-state ratio maintained at each college/university should count students admitted under the Dream Act towards the out-of-state allotment.
Students admitted under the Dream Act cannot be counted in the ratio of in-state students and therefore are not taking seats at our four-year institutions from other Marylanders.
In the United States, the Dream Act calls for an increase in state aid for community colleges of $778,400 for the next fiscal year. The fiscal note does not reflect estimates of how this act will assist in the collection of tax dollars or a net increase in students paying tuition who would not have otherwise been able to afford and attend.
When I voted on November 6, I voted in favor of the Dream Act. In my opinion, I feel that if immigrants have been in the United States and have been paying taxes should be allowed to go to a university. The process of becoming a United States citizen is a long and extremely difficult one. I think that every person deserves a chance if they are working for the right to become a part of society. In 2003, Barbara Grutter alleged that her Equal Protection rights were violated when the University of Michigan Law School’s attempt to gain a diverse student body resulted in the denial of her admission’s application.
Getting into law school is not an easy task to be admitted to, and Grutter felt that she was not being treated equally. The Supreme Court disagreed and held that institutions of higher education have a legitimate interest in promoting diversity. Grutter applied with a 3.8 undergraduate GPA and an LSAT score of 161. She was denied admission. Additionally, officials must look beyond grades and scores to so-called “soft variables,” such as recommenders’ enthusiasm, the quality of the undergraduate institution and the applicant’s essay, and the areas and difficulty of undergraduate course selection. I feel like the Supreme Court was correct. The ability to have a diverse class is crucial. Colleges and universities have a legitimate interest in promoting diversity.
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