Over 3 million students graduate from U.S High Schools every year, with most going on to college or to obtain jobs. However, over 65,000 youth do not get this opportunity because of their immigration status despite growing up in the United States and working hard in school. The Maryland DREAM Act allows for these undocumented immigrant high school graduates who have grown up in the state to attend Maryland public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates.
AIM helped secure Governor O’Malley’s commitment to pass the DREAM Act at an action with over 750 people from the Maryland Industrial Areas Foundation.
The DREAM Act was passed by the Maryland General Assembly, but opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to put the law up to a referendum in the 2012 election. AIM members, alongside Maryland IAF, CASA de Maryland, Maryland Catholic Conference worked to create the political will to win 58.3% of the vote for DREAM by leading massive grassroots efforts to educate Marylanders about the act. This was done by holding the largest DREAM voter mobilization effort ever, which trained over 1,000 clergy and lay leaders to be “DREAM Ambassadors” who then held over 250 DREAM events throughout the state.
DREAM’s success at the ballot box gives hope to national efforts to fix our broken immigration system.