February 17th was an historic day in Maryland. That's when Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Ronald Silkworth dismissed Casa de Maryland's remaining legal challenge to a statewide voter referendum on the controversial Dream Act, which grants in-state college tuition benefits to illegal immigrants. The referendum, which was the result of the first computer-generated petition drive in the nation, will now appear on the November ballot.
After intense lobbying by CASA, the Dream Act passed both houses of the General Assembly and was signed into law last May by Gov. Martin O'Malley. Delegates Neil Parrot, R- Hagerstown, and Pat McDonough, R-Baltimore County, then spearheaded MDPetitions.com, which collected nearly twice the number of voter signatures required to put the issue on the ballot, using information downloaded from the State Board of Elections. The successful petition drive blocked implementation of the law, scheduled to go into effect July 1st.
Joseph Sandler, a former Democratic National Committee lawyer and CASA's lead attorney, promptly filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the signatures, claiming the on-line petition offered "no safeguard against rampant fraud." The spectacle of an attorney representing a tax-supported advocacy group that champions illegal immigration characterizing the signatures of thousands of registered Maryland voters as "illegal" was another surreal scene in Maryland's ongoing political theater of the absurd.
Judicial Watch, ably representing MDPetitions.com, pointed out that the board itself had already validated the signatures, so CASA dropped that ridiculous claim, but still maintained that the Dream Act was not subject to voter referendum because it was an appropriations bill. Judge Silkworth dispatched this argument as well, ruling that "the Maryland Dream Act is not a law making any appropriation, but rather an act of general legislation with a primary goal to change eligibility requirements for students to receive in-state tuition." A benefit, it should be noted, that out-of-state and foreign students do not enjoy.
The Maryland Department of Legislative Services estimates that it would cost taxpayers $3.5 million annually by fiscal year 2016 to subsidize college tuition for illegal immigrants. CASA and outside groups have already launched a multi-million-dollar propaganda campaign to defeat what the radical leftist group ANSWER refers to as "the racist referendum." But taxpaying Marylanders, who have been much more accommodating of illegal immigrants than most, are finally fed up. Judge Silkworth's decision ensures that as the Maryland State Constitution allows, the people of Maryland will have the last word, not the professional politicians in Annapolis and their left-wing activist allies.