Maryland’s true immigration reform activists have led Maryland residents to submit more than 130,000 signatures to force a vote on the recently-passed college tuition break for illegal aliens. (The Washington Times, June 30, 2011) The group needed just over 55,000 signatures to get the measure on the 2012 ballot. (Maryland State Board of Elections 2012) Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley, signed a bill into law earlier this year that allowed illegal alien students who have attended Maryland high schools for three years to receive in-state tuition at Maryland colleges. (SB 167; See FAIR Legislative Update, April 18, 2011) Without the work of these activists, the law would have gone into effect this fall.
In order to appear on the ballot, petitioners had to collect valid signatures representing three percent of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, and the petitioners’ names must match those names appearing on Maryland’s voting rolls. (The Washington Post, June 1, 2011) Maryland’s Board of Elections has announced that it has already been able to validate 102,000 of the signatures submitted, almost doubling the 55,736 needed to the hold off implementation of the law until Maryland residents have a chance to vote on the measure in 2012. (The Baltimore Sun, July 13, 2011) This grass-roots movement shows the importance of the issue to Maryland residents and has received bipartisan support, with more than 30 percent of approved signatures coming from registered Democrats. (The Washington Times, June 30, 2011)