Letter: DREAM Act good for children, good for economy

The Maryland DREAM Act is about treating all our children, and all Maryland taxpayers, fairly. Amy Chai (letter, Oct. 18) says that citizens from other states will be denied the "break" DREAM students get. The Maryland DREAM Act isn't a break bur rather about ensuring fair treatment for all Maryland taxpayers.

Chai neglects to mention that a U.S. citizen is eligible to pay in-state tuition in her own state. DREAM students have lived in Maryland for most of their lives and their families pay Maryland taxes yet without the Maryland DREAM Act, they're being charged the exorbitant out-of-state rate.

Chai says that we can't afford the Maryland DREAM Act. But if anything, we can't afford to not pass the Maryland DREAM Act. A recent UMBC study found the state will reap $66 million in economic benefits per class of DREAMers who enroll in college thanks to the Maryland DREAM Act. This is a wise investment that will pay major dividends.

As a pastor of an African-American congregation, I know firsthand that too many people in my church and my community are struggling to find work and support their families. But the Maryland DREAM Act doesn't pose a threat to our community. The Maryland DREAM Act would give all our children the incentive to excel in school, graduate and go on to college, and to contribute to our workforce.

With only a few hundred students expected to enroll because of the legislation, it won't drastically alter the makeup of our workforce or change competition for jobs. But voting for Question 4 will allow us to send a signal to all our young people that we support their dreams and their potential.

Rev. Robert Turner


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