Dream Act approved by Maryland voters
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP/ABC7) - Maryland voters have approved allowing undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements to pay in-state tuition at public colleges.
It is the state's version of the Dream Act. There are still only a handful of states nationwide with similar Dream Act laws, but supporters say that will soon change.
Maryland is the first state in the nation to approve it by popular vote. The initiative passed with 58 percent of the vote.
Undocumented immigrants will be able to pay in-state rates if they attend a Maryland high school for three years and they or their parents can show they filed state income taxes during that time.
On a separate ballot question, Maryland voters also approved the state's congressional redistricting map. It had been petitioned to the ballot by opponents who said it had been gerrymandered to favor Democrats.
On the Dream Act, students would also have to state their intention to apply for permanent residency and register with the Selective Service, if they are required to do so.
For 17-year-old Veronica Saravia, her entire life took a huge turn following the passage of the Dream Act. She can now afford to go to college.
"It brightens my future and opens so many doors for me," Saravia says.
Born in El Salvador but brought to Maryland when she was 10 by her parents, Veronica is one of thousands of young undocumented immigrants living in Maryland who are now eligible for aid to an in-state college.
Ricardo Campos, 23, can now attend the University of Maryland and pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.
"A lot of these kids grow up here and, in my mind, they are Americans and they have a lot to contribute to our society," says Megan Williams.
But some disagree.
"In my personal opinion, you should have to be a legal resident of this country before you can attended a publicly or privately-funded institution," says David Huffman.