Maryland May Wake from DREAMing in November

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on August 21, 2012

Just after the Obama administration has started an illegitimate, de facto amnesty for would-be DREAM Act beneficiaries, the reliably "blue" state of Maryland may reject its state DREAM-type law bestowing in-state college tuition rates on foreign lawbreakers.

Maryland, a state that politically has been reliably in the Democrats' pocket, will likely back Barack Obama's re-election while rejecting this blatant reward for breaking America's immigration laws. Now that's interesting.

The "Free State" hasn't elected a Republican to major statewide office since Gov. Robert Ehrlich in 2002. It has sent doctrinaire liberal Democrats to Washington, except for a couple of its U.S. Representatives. Its last GOP U.S. Senator, Charles Mathias, was no Tea Party conservative. He left office in 1987. And the Maryland congressional delegation has amassed a collective F grade from NumbersUSA on immigration issues (compared to B for neighboring Virginia).

So how in the world would Maryland voters popularly reject part of the open-borders rewards program for illegal immigration? After all, this issue has practically become a standard box to be checked among party elites.

First, the measure became law by raw political power and strong-arming the process. The college tuition break became law as an afterthought by the Maryland legislature. It was a pet project of open-borders proponents. They are so cozy with state lawmakers the measure could be jammed through at the tail end of the 2011 session (20 Democratic legislators cast "no" votes).

Second, both the policy and the process by which it was forced through riled state citizens of all stripes. The state referendum process in Maryland isn't easy, but the truly grassroots effort to get a public say on the new in-state tuition law succeeded. Popular petitions to challenge other state laws had fallen short since a 1992 anti-abortion question.

About 56,000 signatures had to be obtained and validated in order to get the question put on the November 2012 ballot. DREAM-lite opponents collected more than 130,000 signatures. Nearly half the signers of the referendum petition challenging in-state tuition for illegals were Democratic or independent voters.

The petition drive operated on overdrive. From mid-April 2011, when the legislature passed the bill, until July 1, the deadline for getting enough signatures, Maryland DREAM opponents had to hustle and collect the thousands of signatures.

Third, in-state tuition proponents have resorted to the courts — and lost repeatedly — to try to block the referendum. Political radicals often fight dirty by relying on judicial activism to circumvent the majority. Such cynical legal tactics don't sit well with average citizens.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, the effort to reject the Maryland law has been a nonpartisan initiative. Concerned citizens who are Democrats, Republicans, and independents; rural and urban; liberal and conservative; and of all races and creeds reportedly have helped the referendum petition drive succeed. For example, 39 percent of signers in Baltimore County are Democrats. In the majority black and Democratic D.C. suburb of Prince George's County, 38 percent of residents who signed the petition were Democrats.

On the nonpartisan grassroots organization Help Save Maryland's website, a press release hailing the victorious drive and its broad base of support says:

The first round of signatures showed that approximately 30 percent of the petition signers were Democrats and 15 percent were unaffiliated voters. Democrat Senator James Brochin said in a previous interview that, "It's important to note that this is not just a Republican effort. I'm a Democrat and this is bad public policy."


Maybe pandering politicians should stop listening to radical activists and start listening to the American people on immigration issues.