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Area residents offer reactions to Dream Act

June 15, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Tara Sanders, 21, Hagerstown
By Caleb Calhoun

Hagerstown resident David Decarlo expressed his opposition Friday to the Dream Act passed by Maryland lawmakers in 2011 that would allow in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants if the law is not overturned in a referendum.

“If you’re an American than you’re entitled to the rights Americans are entitled to, but if you’re not American, then you shouldn’t be,” he said. “The state needs to concentrate on its own residents first.”

Decarlo, 52, was among area residents who offered their reactions Friday after the state’s highest court ruled earlier this week that voters can decide whether the law will go into effect. 

He had mixed feelings on whether the law should be on the ballot.

“Sometimes the voters don’t give us what we actually need,” he said. “If you’re not a voter, then don’t complain if something passes that you don’t want to pass.”

Caleb Hudlow, 22, of Keedysville also said he is against illegal immigrants receiving in-state tuition.

“I don’t think it’s very fair to people who are actually trying to get tuition,” he said. “If they’re not really U.S. citizens, then it’s really not fair.”

However, Hudlow had a different point of view about immigrant children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents or guardians.

“I feel like they should get citizenship,” he said. “When they get citizenship, then they can get the in-state tuition.”

Under the law, illegal immigrants could qualify for in-state tuition if they attended high school in Maryland for three years and showed that their family had filed tax returns to the state.

They could then attend a community college for the same price other Maryland residents pay and could transfer into a four-year college for in-state tuition after completing 60 credits.

Hagerstown resident Tara Sanders, 21, said she supports the law.

“Everybody should be treated equally,” she said. “If they want to come to America, they should be allowed to come.”

But Rhonda King, 43, of Hagerstown said she is against the law.

“We have enough people in the United States who need tuition and money for college,” she said. “There are ways for them to become legal citizens. If they’re still not a legal citizen, I don’t think they should get in-state tuition.”

Hagerstown resident Wanda Mannix said she is also against the law for similar reasons.

“There are enough Americans that need help,” she said. “We overlook help for Americans and give illegal immigrants everything. That isn’t fair.”

Mannix, 49, said that rights for illegal immigrants should not be America’s problem.

“That’s something their countries need to deal with,” she said. “We can’t go into other countries the way they can come into ours.”

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