EDUCATION

Maryland Dream Act referenum ordered by Court of Appeals

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Maryland's controversial Dream Act, which would qualify illegal immigrant students for in-state tuition at colleges and universities in the state, will go to referendum, the state's Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

In a one-sentence statement released by Maryland's high court Wednesday morning, Judge Robert M. Bell cleared the way for the Dream Act to go to the voters on this November's Election Day.

A push to block the referendum had been ongoing by Casa de Maryland, an immigrants rights group, who had spent months trying to convince judges that the legislation didn't belong on the ballot.

The referendum push, though, was led by Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County), who had to collect 56,000 signatures by this month to get the Dream Act on the ballot.

"It costs too much money and we have federal immigration laws that are in place and we need to enforce those immigration laws,” Parrott said in May 2011.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the legislation last May. The legislation would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges, provided that they can prove that their parents have paid their taxes for three years.

Immigrant students would also be compelled to attend community college for the first two years of their higher education career.

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