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Maryland, Montana vote on immigration issues

Voters in Montana and Maryland went to the polls to decide upon two state immigration initiatives on Tuesday. In Maryland, Question 4 [text], often called "Maryland's Dream Act," passed with approximately 59 percent of the votes affirming the law's passage. The measure [Baltimore Sun report] allows for most undocumented immigrants who went to Maryland high schools for at least three years to "pay in-state tuition rates at a four-year public college or university if the student has first completed 60 credit hours or graduated from a community college in Maryland." The law was passed last year by the Maryland General Assembly [official website] but was later recalled by a petition drive which suspended the law until a general referendum could be held by the state's electorate. The Maryland law is comparable to similar laws in other states but this is the first time a state's "Dream Act" law has survived general approval in an election.

Voters in Montana also decided to affirm an immigration initiative on Tuesday. The state voted overwhelmingly [AP report] in favor of LR-121 [text, PDF] which requires proof of citizenship or documentation of being in the country lawfully before being eligible to receive "state services." The measure prevents illegal immigrants from obtaining student aid, state licenses, disability benefits, unemployment payments or employment with the state. Additionally, the measure requires that state agencies must notify the Department of Homeland Security [official website] of non-citizens who apply for state services.

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