This November, voters in the eastern U.S. state of Maryland will decide whether to uphold a state law giving some illegal immigrants tuition breaks at state-run universities and community colleges.
Maryland could become the 12th state in the nation to offer undocumented immigrants lower tuition for higher education.
There are at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. In June, President Barack Obama issued an executive order allowing many who are under 30 to remain and work in the United States temporarily.
Ivette Roman is one of those people impacted by the presidential decree. Born in Peru, she’s one of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. She grew up in Maryland and, as a high school graduate with honors, was looking forward to attending a university in the state.
“I was super excited,” Roman says. “I was like ‘Yes! I am finally going to college and pursue my dream.'”
But that dream is on hold for now. Roman’s status as an illegal immigrant means she’s not eligible for same lower tuition rates at state-run colleges and universities as other Maryland residents.
Now, immigrant rights groups are urging Maryland voters to say yes to a plan offering in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. It’s a referendum on a law passed by the state legislature last year.
If voters approve, undocumented immigrants will receive in-state tuition if they attend a community college for two years before transferring to a four-year state college or university. Parents would have to pay state income taxes for five years and plan to become permanent residents.