On June 5, CASA de Maryland, the immigrants advocacy and support organization that is the largest Latino and immigrant group in the state, honored Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb with its Justice Award for our Firm’s pro bono work on the Maryland DREAM Act. Together with a team from Arnold & Porter, the Firm represented “Dreamer” students and voters in the court battle to attempt to block a statewide referendum on the DREAM Act, which makes available to to undocumented immigrants in-state tuition at community colleges and the state University system if certain conditions are met. The court challenge did not succeed but Maryland voters approved the law in the 2012 general election. (The Firm also represented the ballot committee formed to persuade voters to approve the law).
The University of Maryland Diamondback recently reported on a case that Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb partner Joseph Sandler argued in support of the Maryland DREAM Act. After Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the bill last year, opponents of the new law have attempted to put the law to a referendum, where Maryland voters can decide its fate.
Under the DREAM Act, undocumented students can receive in-state tuition to Maryland public colleges if they graduated from a Maryland public high school, complete 60 community college credits, and prove they or their parents had paid state taxes for the past three years. Mr. Sandler, who is arguing the case on behalf of Casa de Maryland, told the Diamondback that the bill is essentially a spending bill because the community college requirements will lead to an increase in state-funding to two-year colleges. If the law is indeed considered a spending bill rather than a policy bill, it would be disqualified from being put to a vote.
“The law is of the type that we believe is not subject to referendum,” Mr. Sandler said. “It includes appropriations; it is essentially a spending bill.”
The case has also drawn media attention for other regional outlets, including the Washington Post.