Karina is a "Dreamer." She says she's not the only one.
"My mother has always told me that education is the path to my success and I very much believe that," said the woman who was only identified by her first name.
Karina, who plans on graduating next year with dual associate degrees in general studies and mental health, called for support for a bill that would grant in-state tuition rates to students like herself who are in this country illegally or are considered undocumented immigrants.
The law that would grant that opportunity will go before the voters in November after narrowly passing the General Assembly in 2011. Opponents collected nearly 109,000 signatures of registered Maryland voters, nearly twice the required number, to force the issue to the ballot.
Educating Maryland Kids, a coalition of groups including the Catholic church and other faith-based, education, civil rights, and labor unions, kicked off its efforts to educate voters and uphold the recently passed tuition bill.
"The Catholic church supports the DREAM Act because we believe that every person, regardless of their legal status is a child of God," said Bishop Denis Madden, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. "As a church and as a community, we flourish when we strive to provide the opportunity for every person to reach their full potential and to develop the unique God-given gifts that they have been given.
"We are convinced that when Marylanders know the facts about the DREAM Act, that they will happily embrace the chance to do the right thing for our young people," Madden said.
Del. Pat McDonough, a Middle River Republican and a leading opponent of the law, said the coordinated effort to support the law is not a surprise. He said opponents will not be able to match the money he expects groups like Educating Maryland Kids to spend before the election.
"We don't have O'Malley money, and we don't have SEIU union money, and we don't have any angels saying, 'Here's some money, go out and tell the truth.'" McDonough said. "What we have are people across the state who believe this is wrong."
McDonough plans to hold his own news conference Thursday in Middle River—an unofficial kick-off to defeat the measure, he said.
The Republican delegate Tuesday criticized Freeman Hrabowski, president of the , for .
"He's a public official and his salary is paid for by the taxpayers of Maryland," McDonough said. "What right does he have to advocate for breaking the law?"
The University System of Maryland has twice voted to support the law.
Hrabowski said the event, even though it was held at his university, was not a university-sponsored event—though he said he personally supports the effort.
"As an american educator, I have a special belief that the more we can do to educate the children in this country, the better off our country will be," Hrabowski said. "In fact, I would argue that it is our way as Americans, to believe in our children.
"Children need to know that adults believe in them and that they appreciate the power of of education to transform lives. Where would we be without an education?"