Hoping to be able to build on their Maryland success, around 200 immigration advocates rallied at the White House yesterday to show their support of a comprehensive reform of US immigration policies.
The effort to rejuvenate a national debate on immigration comes after an election where Latino voters helped to push Obama to an election win in battlefield states such as Nevada and Colorado. Exit polls show that Hispanics were the only sizable demographic group that backed Obama in larger numbers this year than was the case four years ago back in 2008.
“I’m here to celebrate… and to show the nation that it is possible for immigration reform in the future,” says 22 year old Missael Garcia, who supports the Maryland Dream Act. “Our community is growing. We really hope to not just be able to pass one thing in our state, but in the whole country as well.” Garcia notes that two years ago he was forced to drop out of the Community College of Baltimore County partly because he was paying tuition out of state.
The Maryland Dream Act enables some illegal immigrants to be able to pay in-state tuition at state universities and colleges. The measure was approved in Tuesday’s election by voters by almost 17 percentage points. “For older students, they came from another country but they want to study – they need it,” says 31 year old Baltimore resident Zara Urgiles. “Everybody who is able to vote, whether they’re an immigrant or not, they should go vote, like I did.”