Maryland faith leaders back DREAM Act

Local leaders of the Catholic, Mainline Protestant and black churches are planning to speak this evening in favor of in-state tuition breaks for illegal immigrants at Maryland’s public colleges and universities, advocates said.

Archbishop William Lori of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Pastor Alvin Gwynn Jr. of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and others are scheduled to gather at 5 p.m. at the chapel at Morgan State University.

The faith leaders are to speak in favor of the Maryland DREAM Act, which would extend in-state tution discounts to Maryland students who were brought to the United States illegally.

To qualify, the students would be required to attend community college for the equivalent of two years before transferring to a four-year college. They would compete for places with out-of-state applicants.

The Democratic General Assembly approved the legislation last year, and Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law. But opponents mounted a successful petition drive to get the question on the ballot next month, when voters will get the final say.

In addition to Lori, Sutton and Gwynn, also scheduled to speak are Bishop Denis Madden of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane of the Delaware- Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Rev. Peter K. Nord, Executive Presbyter of the Baltimore Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the  Rev. Frederick Weimert, President of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and Rev. David Cooney, assistant to the bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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