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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.

Richard Cook July 01, 2011 at 11:06 PM
How sad that the frustrated political right is taking out their anger on high school kids. What a terrible message to send to kids - we don't want you here! We must never go back to the bad old days of segregation, and create a permanent ethnic underclass. Our community must not be divided like this. I am embarrassed that five members of the Baltimore County Council are pushing this - although I think they, too are ashamed. The supposed "letter" these five Council members signed on June 7 is something they are hiding rom their constituents. All the best. Everyone who is touting the petition drive ought to think twice, as these Council members apparently have done - and step away from the divisive anti-DREAM Act campaign. Richard Cook - District 3
Robert Armstrong July 02, 2011 at 12:10 AM
The organizers of the petition drive let the cat out of the bag when they publicly announced that the big target was same sex marriage. If the law allowing same sex marriage is passed in Maryland then they can use the same database of bigots to get that overturned too.
Ed Veit July 02, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Hey McDonough' "Ve vant to see you papers"
Ed Veit July 02, 2011 at 01:39 PM
How do you tell who is undocumented? Check all Latino names? Or check names that look like immigrants? Like say Veit, Olzewski, or McDonough or even Parrot?
David Hyland July 02, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Shut up, do as we are told ,is that it? I don't care who’s legal or not as long as you take the steps to be Legal. Do you know how many of these people are wanted by police, are terrorists, why they come here? If you seek a better life , nothing should stand in your way. Have they broken our laws? Why won’t they register if they have nothing to fear? What keeps them from respecting our process? Is it too much to obey our laws? If you went to most Euro-Nations you’d need to register and have proper visas. Why come here instead of solving issues at home? I lived in Europe 6 years. I was required to register every time I moved a mile down the road. Not a single Official spoke English to me and not a single person handed me food stamps, medical care, or tuition. I was required to follow the rules. These are fundamental issues on everyone's mind. I care that my right to question this is being attacked by those who fear their choice did not represent the majority. You are the same folks who would deprive voters their right to bring this issue to referendum. Some don't agree with “leadership” and want to challenge it by vote. This is how it should be, and how it is. Whatever voters think after-So be it. It’s a lot deeper than children of “New Americans” getting tuition breaks. It's about Government dictating to the masses. We've been told gas tax will increase, tolls will increase, taxes on Internet sales, and no one questions this? It’s time!
Robert Armstrong July 02, 2011 at 07:17 PM
Atlanta has figured it out. We should do the same thing in Baltimore. http://news.yahoo.com/thousands-rally-against-ga-immigration-law-172338111.html
Richard Cook July 02, 2011 at 09:50 PM
A majority of the Baltimore County Council is on the wrong side of the DREAM Act - the law that will permit all qualified high school grads go on community college. The prejudice expressed by these five members of the County Council does NOT represent the diversity that is Baltimore County. Chairman of the County Council John Olszewski 7th District Vicky Almond - 2nd District Kathy Bevins - 6th District Third District’s Todd Huff - 3rd District Fifth District’s David Marks - 5Tth District Each of these elected officials is supporting efforts to overtune Maryland's DREAM Act. Each of these elected officials is going out of their way to divide our County. Each claims to have signed a joint letter on June 7, encouraging some residents of Baltimore County to give the heave-ho to other residents of Baltimore County. Why? Why do they want to divide us? Why won't these five members of the Council release their June 7 letter? Is it that they are not so proud of what they have done? This is the sort of bind elected officials get into when they sign "letters" that divide our community.
Buzz Beeler July 03, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Let the people decide. This is unprecedented in the annals of Maryland politics. Apparently the voices you are hearing aren't the same so let the people decide in 2012. The article refers to an overwhelming number of signatures. Del. Jim Rosapede said it best by referring to his immigrant history and doing so lawfully. Delegates McDonough and Parrott deserve a great deal of credit for taking up the conservative cause in this state. The council deserves credit for voicing their opinion wich is their constitutional right. I think a lot of people will be surprised when this issues goes to the ballot box in 2012.
Richard Cook July 04, 2011 at 11:25 AM
It is a terrible idea to attack high school kids by way of a petition telling them in effect: YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE! I am ashamed of: Chairman of the County Council John Olszewski 7th District Vicky Almond - 2nd District Kathy Bevins - 6th District Third District’s Todd Huff - 3rd District Fifth District’s David Marks - 5Tth District for going out of their way to deliver this message to Hispanic high schoolers in Baltimore County. This get-out-of-our-community mentality has no place in the work of the Baltimore County Council. The Hispanic Community has grown from around 50,000 to something like 150,000 according to the 2010 census. Why on earth would some our County's elected officials fo out of their way to disrespect any portion of their own constituency? Shameful. Richard Cook 3rd Disrict
Richard Cook July 04, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Our elected officials ought to be focused on the economic betterment of our community - not attacking high school kids - who are part of their constituency, too. We are an inclusive county - not a bunch narrow-minded bigots. Those days are gone for good in Baltimore County. Let's hope.
Gil July 04, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch began leading a push for increased communication between police and schools after meeting recently with a group of lawmakers, prosecutors, police and school officials who are working to revise the state's largely ineffective youth gang statutes. At the public hearing where the matter was discussed, he was shocked to learn the extent to which schools have become incubators for gangs - and that the average age of recruitment into a gang now is 13. So, now supporters of the Dream Act want to enable the fast track for gangs to enter our community colleges.
Richard Cook July 04, 2011 at 01:41 PM
People signing petitions in effect telling their neighbors - WE DO NOT WANT YOU HERE - is a sad, divisive, bigoted approach to County government. It is just amazing to me that five of seven members of the Baltimore County Council - elected officials - do not consider themselves to represent all the residents of the County - only some of them. Why invite people to leave? Why invite people to spend their shopping dollars some place other than Baltimore County? Why target high school kids with this kind of negative message? Chairman of the County Council John Olszewski 7th District Vicky Almond - 2nd District Kathy Bevins - 6th District Todd Huff - 3rd District David Marks - 5th District have now stated publicly that they do not consider all the residents of Baltimore County to be part of their constituency, especially school children! What could possibly possess locally elected officials - presiding over a county with serious economic challenges - to say to some residents - great idea - tell your neighbors you don't want them and theor dollars in our county anymore! ?? I don't get it. And I don't get - now that they have taken this position - they are running away from it: not answering inquiries, refusing to make appointments with constituents with a different view. Are they embarrassed by their own conduct? As time goes on, we'll see . . .
Eastsider July 04, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Richard, It is great to be an American having the right to voice your opinion on issues like this. So what you deem as “sad” I say to the petitioners and politicans, keep it up and let your voices be heard.
Richard Cook July 04, 2011 at 03:04 PM
I do not see the upside for Baltimore County when Chairman of the County Council John Olszewski 7th District Vicky Almond - 2nd District Kathy Bevins - 6th District Todd Huff - 3rd District David Marks - 5th District tell some residents of the county to sign on to a campaign that demeans and isolates other residents of the county. We used to treat Catholics and African-Americans like this - to our shame. We dare not go back to endorsing a legally-sanctioned permanent underclass of residents, who are told by their fellow citizens - you can never hope to live in security as do the rest of us. And to aim this harsh message at high school kids is beyond cruel. This is a wonderful, great and grand country - which can and will find a way to extend its opportunities to those already here - especially kids. Happy 4th of July.
Buzz Beeler July 04, 2011 at 08:26 PM
Richard apparently you are not living in the reality of what is as opposed to what could be. What gets in the way is the humane experience. Look around the world and see the tension and war over issues such as religion, politics, ethnic background and even entitlements as seen in the riots in France and Greece. I hear and read between the lines and you are implying that we continue the entitlements and forget about hard work, the law, fairness and the current state of the economic climate. I was raised Catholic and my parents worked three and four jobs to put my brother and I through school. Back then there were no entitlements from the various groups of all denominations. You fought and scraped to achieve the American dream. You seem to demand it while silencing anyone who opposes those entitlements. By the way I don't hear you speak us for those children you mention when they were abused by those priests. "This is a wonderful, great and grand country - which can and will find a way to extend its opportunities to those already here - especially kids." As per your quote you need to do some research on graduation rates, and what we already spend on illegals before you start to demand more.
Richard Cook July 05, 2011 at 12:26 PM
It has been almost a month since five members of the Baltimore County Council went out of their way to divide out community. It was on June 7 2011 that Chairman of the County Council John Olszewski 7th District Vicky Almond - 2nd District Kathy Bevins - 6th District Third District’s Todd Huff - 3rd District Fifth District’s David Marks - 5Tth District announced that they do not consider themselves to represent everyone in the County. Each of these five local, elected officials is supporting efforts to overturn Maryland's DREAM Act. Makes no difference to these Council members that the federal government want to legalize these kids (according to a recent memo out of Homeland Security). Makes no difference to these narrow-minded Council members that it's absurd to bar any children in our community from getting as much education as they want. Each of these elected officials is going out of their way to divide our County. Why? What does any of this have to do with these officials' mandate to help govern our County? Answers, please. And from the Sorry Five - for whom the politics of division has such a mysterious appeal.
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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