Letter: Maryland Dream Act runs counter to federal law

What seems to be missing from Calvin Ball's piece Oct. 11 column on the Dream Act, and also seems to be missing from the discussion of this act overall, is the fact that the Maryland Dream Act directly contradicts the legal intent of an already existing federal law.

On September 28, 1996 U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson said, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, "Illegal aliens will no longer be eligible for reduced in-state college tuition. It is in there." On that day, the Senate had just passed an immigration reform law that contained a provision that would become part of the United States Code,Title 8, section 1623, saying in part, "an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit…"

So with all that in mind I do not understand how the Maryland state government has ignored the spirit of this law and voted to ignore, in our state, the enacted law of the United States Federal government? If this sort of state level action is acceptable, could southern state legislatures overturn the Civil Rights Laws using such procedures? Perhaps a macho state legislature, like Alaska, could legislatively take the vote back from women?

On November 6th we will have a referendum before us voting on the legitimacy of a Maryland state law that ignores the intent of the United States Congress in Public Law 104-208, 8 USC1623.

Am I missing something here? Is the legislative intent of our Federal government a joke, to be ignored at will by state legislators who use clever phrasing and slippery proxies? I guess the Maryland state legislature discovered the old adage about following the letter and ignoring the spirit of the law.

Dana Ely


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