Photo credit: MarylandReporter.com
During the last session of the Maryland General Assembly a law was passed which gave in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens. This was an off shoot of the federal DREAM Act which also made being an illegal alien essentially legal.
On the surface this looked warm and fuzzy and benign and only racists would oppose illegal aliens getting in-state tuition rates. The kicker on this bill was that the prospective student or their guardian had to show they had paid Maryland taxes which requires a social security number. So the bill allowed illegals the advantage of in state tuition so long as they or their guardian had engaged in fraud or identity theft.
The bill couldn't muster the votes it needed during the session but somehow it was brought up at night and passed one hour before the midnight adjournment of the session along with other controversial legislation.
Is this a great country or what?
The GOP in Maryland is weak. Maryland was one of the few states in the union where the GOP racked up net losses in the 2010 "wave election." It is largely composed of a cadre of go-along-get-along squishes who have Stockholm Syndrome.
A small group of delegates and activists led by state delegate Neil Parrott were incensed by the substance of the bill and the way it was passed and they set out to do something that hasn't been done in Maryland in 20 years. They started a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot. They succeeded and the law has been suspended until the voters decide. From the Washington Post:
Opponents of a new law that gives undocumented immigrants in-state tuition discounts at Maryland’s public colleges have gathered enough signatures to suspend the law and force a statewide referendum, election officials said Thursday.
It is the first time in 20 years that a petition drive has forced a vote on a Maryland law.
Opponents needed at least 55,736 signatures, or 3 percent of those who cast ballots in the last statewide election, to push the measure to a vote in November 2012. The board reported Thursday that 63,118 signatures had been validated by local officials. Counting and certifications of signatures will continue for weeks because opponents turned in more than 130,000 signatures. The Board of Elections has until July 22 to certify the total tally.
Not only did the drive get more than enough signatures to ensure the measure is voted on, the petition had unexpectedly strong showing in Democrat strongholds like Prince George's County.
This drive had little to no outside help. Neil Parrott funded the website which was key to producing challenge resistant signatures for the drive. But it shows what can be accomplished by determined men with a just cause.