‘You may say that we are DREAMers…’ But, as the vote on Question 4 of the Maryland ballot demonstrated, we are definitely not the only ones! You helped successfully defend the Maryland DREAM Act last night as Marylanders voted 58% to 42% in favor of the act.
The Maryland DREAM Act is legislation that would afford students from Maryland, who have been state high school students, and whose parents file state taxes, the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates for their higher education. (For more information regarding the Maryland DREAM Act, check out our Maryland DREAM Act one-pager and our infographic.
This is an important victory for the students and families who will be affected, for DREAMers across the country and for human rights supporters fighting for immigrants’ rights and the right to education. It’s important for another reason too. Ballot referendums are a critical barometer of public opinion, and an indication of how ready U.S citizens and residents are ready for political change on the issue in question. The results in Maryland are pretty clear – voters strongly support common sense measures that recognize the contributions that our talented young people, regardless of immigration status, are making to the nation.
One piece of legislation that would enable more young people to make their contributions, and which has strong support among immigrant communities (the Pew Hispanic Center cites support among Latino communities, for example, as being 91%), is the federal DREAM Act. While there is much more to do than secure the regularization of the 2.1 million or so DREAMers in the U.S. to achieve immigrants’ rights fully, passing the federal DREAM Act would be an important step towards rectifying an unjust and discriminatory immigration system.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who had signed the Maryland DREAM Act into law last May, said yesterday, “All children will now be able to reach their potential because the people of our state have put a college education within their grasp.” Today, we are celebrating this victory and the other human rights victories – including marriage equality – across the country. Tomorrow, we will begin renewing our efforts to ensure that the next administration secures the right to education and other critical rights for immigrant communities and for all communities.
I have been resisting the temptation to incorporate anyone ‘joining us’ or the ‘world living as one’ from John Lennon’s lyrics into this post, but have finally acquiesced, since we know that our work is intended to take us closer to that place of universality and to do that, we do need to inspire as many people as possible to get involved. So, learn more about the federal DREAM Act, by checking out the Federal DREAM Act infographic and toolkit, and use the ideas in there, and your own wonderful creativity, to start generating support for passing the DREAM Act. Let’s work to make our DREAM a reality – I ‘imagine’ John would be proud!