More than 110,000 Petitioners Want Dream Act Placed on Referendum in 2012

Republican delegates gathered in downtown Annapolis Thursday to deliver thousands of petitions to the Maryland Secretary of State's office.

Republican delegates delivered an overwhelming number of petitions to Annapolis on Thursday evening to get the Maryland Dream Act in front of the public for a vote in 2012.

More than 12 boxes, each brimming with petition signatures, were stacked around the entrance to the Maryland Secretary of State’s office on Thursday evening. They were delivered there by volunteers and delegates who want to see the Dream Act canceled by placing it on the 2012 ballot for a statewide referendum.

They needed 55,736 signatures. And Republican Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington) said on Thursday that with this newest batch, they have amassed more than 110,000.

Senate Bill 167, commonly called the Maryland Dream Act, would allow high-performing, undocumented, immigrant students to attend college locally while paying in-state tuition rates. The bill passed through the House of Delegates by a 74-65 vote and the Senate by a 27-20 vote.

The bill was set to go into effect this week, but petition signatures began rolling in by the thousands. State and local officials say they have until July 20 to verify them.

Parrott has been spearheading the petition drive over the past months, and held a press conference outside the Secretary of State’s office, saying they crossed the finish line that evening. In front of a firing squad of television cameras, Parrott said the final days of the petition drive were overwhelmingly successful.

“There’s been a huge surge of signatures in the past few days, specifically today. We had a lot more that came to Washington County headquarters, and a lot that showed up right here in Annapolis, and those are being counted right now,” Parrott said. “The people of Maryland have spoken, and they’re going to win on this petition drive, and they’re going to win on this referendum in November of 2012.”

Parrott said the bill would cost the state too much money, during a time when it is already facing a billion-dollar deficit. He also said it skirts immigration laws.

“We have rules,” he said. “We need to enforce our immigration laws, and this bill tries to skirt around those.”

But just three months earlier, , just a few blocks away from where Parrott would later deliver boxes of signatures in opposition to the bill.

Maryland Senator Jim Rosapepe, (D-Anne Arundel) was cheered at that gathering when he said he was an Italian immigrant.

“We are a nation of immigrants,” Rosapepe said. “I understand the pride these people have in their heritage.” 

U.S. immigration laws are "clearly broken," Rosapepe said. “But that’s no reason to deny students a good education."

After local officials count the petitions, the state Board of Elections will begin validating them to ensure that everything is kosher. But as long as 55,736 valid signatures were received, the Dream Act will be back in 2012 for a referendum.

Robert Armstrong July 05, 2011 at 03:39 PM
That's okay. They are just pandering for votes. They don't realize they are just pandering to a vocal minority. The rest of the sane people will remember when the next election comes around.
Buzz Beeler July 05, 2011 at 03:53 PM
That's what I love about the left and the land of entitlements. Only your voice is the one that is supposed to count. "And from the Sorry Five", as from your quote. Sorry for what? Standing up to the left wing of someone who only rants while failing to comprehend the voice of the people who you just heard in the signing of that petition. Maybe you forgot about the rhetoric that with the influx of these people all of our labor and tax revenue problems would be solved. Seems the graphs correlate one thing; the more illegals the higher the nations debt and deficit. Did I forget the unemployment rate? I thought is was rather interesting yesterday at the parade as I was lining up the various groups, I did not see any Hispanic participation anywhere. For that matter I saw no other recent immigrant representation. You want to know who received the largest applause while participating in the parade? Yep, Del. Pat McDonough. Now why do you suppose that is Mr. Cook. As for the federal government and people like Mr. Holder and others of the same ilk, it seems they have lost a great deal of their support in the polls. You think that maybe this country is waking up to the real mess were in and the left wing agenda is taking us down the road of finical ruin. I have plenty of answers Mr. Cook but all I've heard from you is the same repeating comment about the council, who by the way have the right to voice their opinion just like CASA.
Robert Armstrong July 06, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Last I looked CASA is a private organization. The County Councilmen are elected officials. They should worry about representing their constituents instead of Kowtowing to the vocal minority. It's just vote pandering 101.
Gil July 06, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Robert my dear misguided lib, you have no idea what is unfolding before you. The Achievement Class has had their fill of the Entitlement Class. This country is rapidly closing in on a time where more than 50% of the population does not pay taxes. That means the remainder, the Achievement Class, is carrying all the non-payers and this is about to stop. It is purely because of the Entitlement Class that we find the government leadership we have. That group of political hacks are devoid of the skill to attract voters short of giving them a treat for their vote. The end result is we have a country of spoiled freeloaders who could gain the upper hand at all the legislation decisions in this country. I understand the people of your ilk have a difficult time understanding the Achievers of the country. It is that inability to understand that will cause you to become responsible for yourself at your cost, not mine. Are you beginning to see the light?
Richard Cook July 09, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, vicar for Hispanics in the Baltimore Archdiocese, and speaking for the Archdiocese of Washington DC and the Diocese of Wilmington, DE, said: “The most compelling test of our actions will be the judgment of those who come after us,” he said. “Today, we want to be sure that these young men and women can look back years from now, and know we stood by them, just as our predecessors did for our ancestors who were new to this country, but sought and found comfort and compassion in the leaders of their faith centuries earlier.” A Facebook page called “Justice for Maryland Immigrants” has also been established by the Maryland Catholic Conference. “We do not condone breaking the law,” the Bishop said. “We do believe, however, that the solutions to the problems that exist in our current immigration system do not lie in denying opportunities to young people.” Other religious leaders who support the DREAM Act include: The Rev. Hal T. Ley Hayek, dean of Cathedral of the Incarnation; Bishop Douglas Miles of Koinonia Baptist Church in Baltimore and co-chair of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development; Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland; Rabbi Gila Ruskin, vice-president, Baltimore Board of Rabbis; and Bishop Marcus Johnson, New Harvest Ministries. For more information: The Catholic Review, July 7, 2011: http://www.catholicreview.org/subpages/storyworldnew-new.aspx?action=10220


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