- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Organizers of a petition to repeal Maryland’s Dream Act notched an important victory Tuesday, as they received an official go-ahead to continue their signature drive through the end of June.

The state Board of Elections confirmed Tuesday morning it has validated more than 21,000 signatures on the petition to block the law allowing in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants.

Petitioners were required to turn in at least 18,579 valid signatures from registered voters by May 31, in order to continue working toward a final goal of 55,736 signatures by June 30.

If the petitioners satisfy both requirements, the Dream Act would be suspended and decided by a November 2012 statewide vote.

The Dream Act was passed in April by the General Assembly and would allow in-state tuition rates for many college-aged illegal immigrants who come from tax-paying families. It is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Petitioners turned in more than 58,000 signatures to election officials on May 31, less than half of which had been reviewed as of Tuesday morning. A count posted shortly after 10 a.m. on the state Board of Elections’ website showed 21,919 signatures had been validated, while 3,723 had been rejected.

• David Hill can be reached at dhill@washingtontimes.com.

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