Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to California In-state Tuition Law

Statement by Mary Ellen Russell, Executive Director

The positive outcome of the United States Supreme Court’s refusal to take the California case means that the law still stands and should deter any efforts to challenge Maryland’s law.

Maryland’s new DREAM Act, similar to California’s law, will give our immigrant friends, neighbors and fellow parishioners – with legal and illegal status – a chance at an affordable college education. These students, who have proven themselves academically and whose families must prove that they pay state income taxes, still must pay tuition at the in-state rate and they will not be eligible for scholarship assistance.

While the Supreme Court’s refusal to take the California case sends a significant sign that the DREAM Act is constitutional and legal, the Court’s decision will not have a direct, legal effect on the referendum efforts. Nevertheless, Maryland’s Catholics and all Marylanders are urged not to participate in the petition drive which will put the law on hold and therefore needlessly inhibit Maryland’s undocumented immigrant students from attending community college because they cannot afford the out-of-state tuition rates.

Our Catholic faith calls us to respond to immigrants and migrants with generosity – to welcome the stranger. These students and their families are in our communities and praying with us in our churches. It is important to remember that our grandparents and forefathers all left their homes in Ireland, Italy and Poland searching for a better life. They were not deterred by the complicated and broken immigration process that exists today. They often didn’t speak English and were shunned by those already here.

America is unique. We are a land of immigrants and our Church has always been a leading advocate for those who are new to our country.

Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Church's public policy positions before the Maryland General Assembly and other civil officials. The Conference represents all three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.