Vets don't need the Dream Act

Dan Rodricks' column on the Maryland Dream Act not only showed his obvious attempt to give tax dollars to illegal immigrants but his willingness to use veterans to do it ("Maryland Dream Act benefits veterans," Oct. 11). He correctly notes that "few people want to deny benefits ... to men and women who've served the country in the military," but then he qualifies that statement with something about veterans losing Maryland residency while on duty.

The fact is that military members don't "lose" their Maryland residency while on duty — they have to give it up. Having been in the military for 32 years, both active duty and in the Guard/Reserves, I know about residency in the military.

Most military members give up a state residency only so they can benefit from another. For example, if they are permanently stationed in a state where there is no state income tax, a military member may claim that state as a resident.

Put another way, members of the military keep their residency in the state where they lived before they enlisted unless they voluntarily change it for legal reasons. The only way a member of the military from Maryland can lose his or her Maryland residency while on duty is by giving it up.

So if a Marylander is sent to Texas and claims residency there for the purpose of avoiding state income taxes, he or she remains a Texas resident if later deployed overseas. If such a member is discharged from the military, he or she is discharged as a Texas resident.

Decisions have consequences in both the short and long term. Mr. Rodricks is grasping for reasons to support the Dream Act, but throwing in the veteran's angle is flawed. If you want vets to have the additional advantage of the Dream Act as well as the GI Bill, special scholarships, job assistance and the like, then give us everything just for being a vet.

Personally, I say no thanks. I did a job, what was expected of me, with no expectations other than a pension if I managed to make it to 20 years. Like thousands of other vets, when I moved and went to college, I paid non-resident tuition rates when I moved back to another state. I lived by the decisions I made, as should everyone, including veterans and illegal immigrants.

Stephen A. Bonning, Nottingham

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