In addition to the presidential contest and a couple of interesting Senate races, there are a couple of ballot initiatives related to immigration and education that I’ll be following closely tonight. First, in Maryland, there is a referendum on whether the state DREAM Act, passed by the legislature, should be enacted into law. If approved, eligible undocumented immigrants will be eligible for in-state tuition throughout Maryland’s public higher education system.
Second, in Montana, voters will decide on LR-121, a proposal to deny certain state services to undocumented immigrants, including barring them from “qualification as a student in the university system for the purposes of a public education,” as well as state-funded student financial aid. The proposal also requires any state agency in Montana to verify the immigration status of any individual seeking a state service if that individual cannot provide evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. I have not heard anything specific related to the impact of this proposal on state/federal-funded adult education programs, but these kinds of requirements are typically problematic for many ESL programs.