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Students ‘dream’ of brighter future

10 October 2012 By Jonathan Munshaw, News Editor 15 Comments
Matthew Hazlett/ The Towerlight

Matthew Hazlett/ The Towerlight

Jonathan Green had one dream: to attend Towson University.

An immigrant from Panama, Green is undocumented, meaning he is not a legal citizen. Because of his status in the U.S., Green was unable to attend Towson, as it was too much for his family to afford.

“I graduated at the top of my class and I had tons of student service learning hours,” Green said. “Instead of going to Towson though, I went to community college for two years and then transferred to Goucher.”

If Marylanders choose to pass the Maryland DREAM Act, students like Green may be able to attend their first-choice schools, as undocumented immigrants would be allowed to attend state Universities for in-state tuition after attending community college for two years.

“I can’t wait to be an American citizen,” Green said. “Right now, there is no pathway for me to do that, but when there is, I’ll be the first one in line.”

The DREAM Act, Question 4 on the Maryland ballot, will be put up to vote during the Nov. 6 election.

Originally passed during the Maryland General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session, the bill was signed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed May 10, 2011, but opponents of the bill met the petition requirement to get it as a referendum on the ballot.

Junior Roselyn Melgar said she is in support of the DREAM Act so that her friends who are undocumented can attend college.

“It’s not fair to my friends back home can’t get a degree because they can’t afford it,” she said.

The Student Government Association has passed a resolution announcing their support of the DREAM Act.

SGA Attorney General Glorimar Quinones said the resolution is important because many students are unaware of what the DREAM Act means to many college hopefuls.

“It’s important because the executive board has seen the impact that it can have on students,” she said. “[SGA Director of Diversity Outreach] Sam Hubbard worked her entire summer campaigning for this, and we want to see the results of her work and keep in mind that this really affects people.”

When fully implemented, the DREAM Act could cost the state of Maryland $3.5 million a year in taxpayer money, according to the Baltimore Sun, although it is projected that it could also make the state $5 million per graduating class, as graduates could enter the workforce and funnel money back into the economy.

Opponents of the DREAM Act, such as Maryland State Delegate Kathy Afzali, criticize the bill for costing too much in taxpayers’ money, and said it would not actually benefit the state.

“Who exactly is going to hire an accountant, or a doctor of a lawyer, who does not have a green card?” Afzali said to the Baltimore Sun. “Who is going to hire a person who is illegal? It is one thing to hire somebody under the table to be a mid or a gardener. Who is going to hire an accountant under the table?”

Afzali could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

To fight against the opponents of the bill, Hubbard, along with SGA Treasurer Ben Mendelsohn and Quinones, hosted an event Tuesday, Oct. 2 called “Actualizing the DREAM.”

Prior to meeting in the event in West Village Commons ballrooms, a group of students from Towson, as well as other local community and state colleges, marched from Freedom Square through West Village, chanting in support of the DREAM Act.

The group was followed by several Towson faculty members, but was greeted with several stares from other students, and questions of what they were even supporting.

Jennifer Herrera, a student at Towson and part of the TU DREAM Team, a student group on campus pushing for the passage of the DREAM Act, said the event was mainly to clear up misconceptions that students had about the bill.

“What a lot of students don’t know is that it has nothing to do with citizenship,” she said. “It has everything to do with being fair.”

-Megan Flannery contributed to this article


15 Comments »

  • Delaware Bob said:

    Talk about arrogant people. Who do these illegal aliens think they are to demand a DREAM act for their education at taxpayers expense? How about they go back to their own country for their education. Haven’t the American taxpayer paid enough for people who have NO RIGHT to be in this country. I’m not a republican, but I will be voting for Romney and pray to God he will get our immigration laws enforced to free this country of all the illegal aliens. Again. They have NO RIGHT to be here no matter how they got here!

  • Feamma said:

    To Delaware Bob:

    First of all, I kindly ask you to not use the work “illegal” to describe undocumented immigrants. It is highly offensive. A crime is illegal, a person is not. Second, under the DREAM Act, these students would not be getting an education “at taxpayers expense.” Their families have lived and payed taxes in the U.S. for years. It may shock you, but yes, many immigrants pay taxes just like any American citizen so it is not that these students just want to take American tax payer’s dollars to go to school. Third, the DREAM Act benefits students who were brought to the U.S. as young children and they had no say in wether they came here or not. Many of them only America to be their home even if they were born elsewhere. These students have attended Maryland schools their entire lives and have graduated from a MD high school or attained a GED. Many have payed taxes to the state of MD as well. The MD DREAM Act allows such students to obtain in-state tuition. It is a piece of legislation that establishes fairness in education. Give me a decent reason why such a student has to pay $4,000 at a community college as opposed to what an in-state student has to pay? It is unfair. They have followed the rules just like the rest of us and it is only fair that they get the opportunity to pay in-state tuition. People like you have bandages of ignorance over your eyes. Do your research. Have a nice night! :)

  • anonymous said:

    “It has everything to do with being fair.”

    Does it? How is it fair that the rest of us, who choose to attend out-of-state schools for various reasons, are stuck paying thousands in tuition dollars while undocumented immigrants are afforded this right?

    If you’re going to make it “fair”, make it fair for all. Not just a subset of the population.

  • withheld said:

    Anon – the Dream Act helps students who have ALEADY been living and paying taxes in that particular state. The Dream Act does not allow a student in say, New Jersey to decide, hey I wanna go to Towson and get in-state tuition there. That’s not the point of act. It recognizes students that are already living in that state as taxpayers and deserving of in-state tuition.

    “Afzali said to the Baltimore Sun. “Who is going to hire a person who is illegal? It is one thing to hire somebody under the table to be a mid or a gardener. Who is going to hire an accountant under the table?””

    Do you really need know anything more about this person to know she’s simply a bigot. You can mow my grass, but you can’t go to school to become a high-paid professional. She should be embarassed by her statement.

    Does anyone else find the backstory on Jonathan a little odd? He couldn’t afford Towson, but he could afford Goucher? Huh? Goucher is twice as expensive.

  • D said:

    goucher is a private school and was able to give him scholarships that made it affordable. Towson is a State University, which does not award scholarships or in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants .

  • David Johnson said:

    The Toilet light keeps censoring.

  • Matt H said:

    Illegal is illegal. Simple as that. “Undocumented workers” are illegal immigrants who deserve to be deported, not given special treatment.

    “We cannot continue to allow illegal immigration. A country that loses control of its borders is not a country. The Constitution of the United States obligates the government to protect the states from foreign invasion. If we can send an army halfway around the world to defend the borders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, why can’t we defend the borders of the United States? I will build a security fence. We will seal the borders of this country cold. We will stop the illegal immigration in its tracks. ” -Pat Buchanan

  • Edie said:

    You can say that these children did not break the law, this is true. Their parents did. And their illegal immigrant parents are responsible bringing here. You can talk about the American Dream and how they wanted a better life for their children, but the fact remains, they have not only broken our immigration laws, they have brought their kids here illegally also. And now those same parents (and the pro-illegal immigrant advocates) want U.S. citizens to fix the difficulties that they have put their children in. You intentionally, I believe, refuse to look at the children of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants and how they would be affected by this. Because no matter how you cut it, they will have to compete for those college slots, if the children of illegal immigrants are given in-state tuition. Even if those illegal immigrant parents paid four or five years of income taxes , the U.S. citizens have paid taxes all the life of their children for eighteen years or more. It is not a matter of kids deserving an education, it is a matter of fairness . A parent whose has spent the last eighteen years or more paying taxes should not have their child/children bumped because an illegal immigrant brought their child/children into this country illegally. It’s not right, it’s not fair and it is certainly not just. Stop looking at just the children of illegal immigrants. U.S. children count in this, every bit as much of the children brought here illegally by their parent. They didn’t break the law and neither did their parents.

  • Jay said:

    I think what’s most disturbing here beyond all of the technicalities is the fact that nobody is ever looking at these “illegal immigrants” as people. I don’t know enough about the DREAM Act to support or condemn it knowledgeably, but I’m enough of a decent person to recognize that the people in question are not all selfish, conniving savages out to squeeze the American taxpayer out of their hard earned American money for the American dream. They are kids who were brought here without a choice and have the same dreams as any other HUMAN BEING. They are human beings. They are not thoughtless, mooching robots “invading” our country. Again, I neither agree or disagree with this act nor do I wish to be lectured on it at the moment, just pointing out the immense amount of blanket statements made by just about everyone on a certain demographic.

  • Alfredo Lozano said:

    DREAMers were brought to this country through no fault of their own and have made it their home. They should be able to be educated here as well.

  • Edie said:

    JaY, I don’t think the majority of people doubt that these children or their parents are human. And yes, they have dreams just like U.S. citizens. However, the difficulty they are having is the fault of their parent. And I don’t think that we should have to put our own children’s dreams of college and a good future at risk because these children parents broke the law in coming here or bring their children here. We all have dreams. But let me say this again. Our children have dreams and we have dreams for them also. The dreams that we have and our children have are just as real and mean just as much. We shouldn’t have to compete with those who should not even be here. Our children are no less human than these children of illegal immigrants. And their parents did not break the law by being here. The illegal immigrant did. Or doesn’t the dreams that we and our children have matter?

  • gary said:

    Ok first off, this is not fair. There parents did bring them here but why have they not took the time to be come citizens of this country. Then this would not be needed. They just do not want to give up their citizenship to there home country incase they every want to go back home and live like kings after the money they earned here. My mother-inlaw is from another country. She married my wifes father and came here that way. She did not have to go threw the process to become a citizen, but thought it was the right thing to do if she was going to live here. It does not cost that much it just means you have to learn about the country you are living in and take a test to prove it, and the test is only in English. So I saw no to this question if you want the break for schools then become part of this country and not a visitor!

  • KeysUP said:

    Towson should put more effort into recruiting Maryland students and less time luring in the international students. This is a Maryland state school. We need to be more xenocentric.

  • 1983 Alum said:

    Feamma, any person or persons not legally in the USA is an ILLEGAL (S). Period, Get it.

    Marylanders should never have to expect their tax dollars to fund the education of ILLEGALS. The legislature should have never passed the bill in the first place.

    Now if you want fund ILLEGALS education, then you can donate to them personally and not demand the state fund their education.

  • Elaina said:

    Wher is MY DREAM as a citizen???

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