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Immigration and the 2023 Session

HB 363 / SB 365 Access To Care Act

This bill will allow people to purchase health coverage from the MD Health Benefit Exchange regardless of their immigration status. This bill was introduced last year. but did not get voted out of committee. 

 

Key facts:

  • ACA currently excludes undocumented folks from accessing state exchanges, so this bill allows state to use "1332 waiver” to bypass that Federal requirement, and create a targeted state subsidy program for undocumented residents.

  • There are 250k undocumented Marylanders who don’t have access to Exchange, including 115k who are uninsured.

  • Builds on last year’s legislation which did not get out of House committee.

 

Resources:

  • MD Health Benefit Exchange info HERE

  • 1332 waiver info HERE

  • JUFJ one pager HERE

  • CASA one pager HERE

Community/Advocacy partners

  • CASA is lead on this and has told us this will be their #1 priority this session. 

  • JUFJ and the MD Healthcare For All Coalition have also named this as a priority and will be supporting CASA on this as they did last Session.

Other potential bills

In addition, UULM-MD expects to supporting two other immigrants’ rights bills that failed in the 2022 legislative session:

  • Universal Representation, and

  • Probation Not Deportation.

Universal Representation - Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone the right to counsel – in criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, despite its severe consequences, deportation proceedings are civil and people facing deportation do not have a right to government-funded counsel, leaving most immigrants to represent themselves in immigration courts, in a system where even legal scholars admit, the statutes are as complicated as the Tax Code. CASA estimates that in Maryland, more than 500 adults are held in immigration detention, forced to defend themselves. (77% of immigrants do not have counsel during immigration proceedings. – Vera Institute of Justice.) Such a process violates the right of due process, harms immigrant communities and damages local economies.


​Filed as HB 114 SB 129 in 2022, the proposed bill would have:

  • Established an Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program administered by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation to provide access to legal representation to certain individuals in certain immigration proceedings

  • Provided education and outreach to certain individuals, families, and communities affected by immigration proceedings and detention

  • Established the Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Special Fund as a special, non-lapsing fund

Prince George’s County and Baltimore City have already instituted universal representation programs. A state-wide program would ensure consistency. Moreover, forty jurisdictions nationally provide representation.

 

 

 

 


Fast Facts:

  • Studies show that individuals who represent themselves in immigration proceedings will succeed in preventing deportation and separation from family only 3% of the time, while those who are presented by counsel will succeed in more than 30% of the cases. (Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition.)

  • ​Only 37 percent of all immigrants and 14 percent of detained immigrants go to court with lawyers on their side, according to a 2016 American Immigration Council (AIC) study. (National Immigrant Justice Center)

  • Forty jurisdictions nationally provide legal representation to undocumented immigrants. In Maryland, Baltimore City and PG County have representation programs. A state-wide program will ensure consistency in application. 

  • In Baltimore City, 41% of detainees who were represented in immigration courts and hearings were released from custody -- either on bond or won their cases.

(HB 193 / SB 211) Probation Not Deportation

Introduced in 2023 as HB 193, this billl would address a serious problem in the federal immigration system's interpretation of the Maryland law that was intended to give criminal defendants a second chance through a disposition of "probation before judgment" (PBJ).

The federal Immigration and Nationality Act lists multiple categories of deportable aliens which include lawfully admitted permanent residents (I-151, green card holders). Among the categories is conviction of a crime -- felony or certain misdemeanors – and subsequent sentence to confinement. 8 U.S.C.A.  section 1251.

Sometimes, as the Maryland legislature has recognized, it is in the best interests of the community to provide an outcome in a criminal matter that will not result in a conviction and has established “probation before judgment” (PBJ) where a judge will strike a conviction and impose probation instead. The statute works well for U.S. citizens. However, under federal immigration law, the current MD PBJ statute is still considered a conviction for non-U.S. citizens because during the PBJ plea agreement process, they have admitted guilt and a finding of guilt is sufficient to trigger severe consequences of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

 

The results can be not only severe but inhumane. A Maryland resident for whom PBJ is imposed, but who happens to be a lawfully admitted permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, can face detention and deportation. Families can be separated – fathers, mothers, breadwinners, taken from their children – for minor offenses. We have the opportunity with HB 559 / SB 265 to correct this injustice.

 

As retired U.S. Immigration Judge John F. Gossart Jr. commented in the Baltimore Sun, “Virginia and New York have similar statutes, which function so that their non-citizen residents do not suffer additional consequences from probation. To allow this inequity to exist from one jurisdiction to another, when the intent of PBJ statutes is the same or similar, is in my opinion unjust. Which side of the Potomac River the case is heard on should not determine whether a PBJ triggers federal consequences.”

Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to promote and affirm justice, equity and compassion in human relations and surely, supporting the passage and enactment of a Probation Before Deportation bill will redress the inequity that exists in Maryland’s Probation Before Judgment statute.

Subject
Bill Number
XFile Bill Number
Sponsor
Title
Status
Current Location
Priority
Position
Action
Synopsis
Access to Care Act
HB0588
SB0365
Delegate Cullison
Health Insurance - Qualified Resident Enrollment Program (Access to Care Act)
First Reading Health and Government Operations
Health and Government Operations
X
Support
Contact your Delegate on committee
Altering the purpose of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Fund to include the provision of funding for the establishment and operation of the Qualified Resident Enrollment Program; requiring the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to establish and implement the Program to allow qualified residents to obtain coverage, facilitate the enrollment of qualified residents in qualified health plans, and, based on the availability of funds, provide premium assistance and cost-sharing reductions to qualified residents; etc.
Access to Care Act
SB0365
HB0588
Senator Lam
Health Insurance - Qualified Resident Enrollment Program (Access to Care Act)
Hearing 2/15 at 1:00 p.m.
Finance
X
Support
Contact your Senator on committee
Altering the purpose of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Fund to include the provision of funding for the establishment and operation of the Qualified Resident Enrollment Program; requiring the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to establish and implement the Program to allow qualified residents to obtain coverage, facilitate the enrollment of qualified residents in qualified health plans, and, based on the availability of funds, provide premium assistance and cost-sharing reductions to qualified residents; etc.
Access to health care
HB0363
Delegate Cullison
Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and Maryland Department of Health - Health Care Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants - Report
Hearing 2/16 at 1:00 p.m.
Health and Government Operations
X
Support
Contact your Delegate on committee
Requiring the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and the Maryland Department of Health to develop a report comparing options for offering affordable health care coverage to State residents who are ineligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program, the Maryland Children's Health Program, or qualified health plans due to the individuals' immigration status; and requiring the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to report its findings and recommendations to certain committees of the General Assembly by October 31, 2023.
Probation Not Deportation
HB0193
SB0211
Delegate Moon
Probation Before Judgment - Probation Agreements
Hearing 2/07 at 1:00 p.m.
Judiciary
X
Support
Contact your Delegate on committee
Authorizing a court to stay the entering of judgment, defer further proceedings, and place a certain defendant on probation subject to reasonable conditions if the court finds facts justifying a finding of guilt; authorizing the court and a certain defendant to enter into a probation agreement under certain circumstances; providing that the entry of a probation agreement under the Act shall be considered as a probation before judgment for all other purposes under State law; etc.
Probation Not Deportation
SB0211
HB0193
Senator West
Probation Before Judgment – Probation Agreements
Hearing 2/08 at 1:00 p.m.
Judicial Proceedings
X
Support
Contact your Senator on committee
Authorizing a court to stay the entering of judgment, defer further proceedings, and place a certain defendant on probation subject to reasonable conditions if the court finds facts justifying a finding of guilt; authorizing the court and a certain defendant to enter into a probation agreement under certain circumstances; providing that the entry of a probation agreement under the Act shall be considered as a probation before judgment for all other purposes under State law; etc.
Facial recognition Technology
SB0192
HB0223
Senator Sydnor
Criminal Procedure - Facial Recognition Technology - Requirements, Procedures, and Prohibitions
Hearing 2/08 at 1:00 p.m.
Judicial Proceedings
Establishing requirements, procedures, and prohibitions relating to the use of facial recognition technology by a law enforcement agency under certain circumstances; requiring on October 1 each year, a law enforcement agency that uses or contracts for the use of facial recognition technology to complete an audit to determine compliance with the Act; etc.
Facial recognition technology
HB0223
SB0192
Delegate Moon
Criminal Procedure - Facial Recognition Technology - Requirements, Procedures, and Prohibitions
Hearing 2/07 at 1:00 p.m.
Judiciary
Establishing requirements, procedures, and prohibitions relating to the use of facial recognition technology by a law enforcement agency under certain circumstances; requiring, by October 1 each year, a law enforcement agency that uses or contracts for the use of facial recognition technology to complete an audit to determine compliance with the Act as well as applicable local laws, regulations, and policies; etc.
Licenses, Certifications, Registrations
HB0454
SB0187
Delegate Lopez
Health Occupations - Licenses, Certificates, and Registrations - Immigrants
First Reading Health and Government Operations
Health and Government Operations
Prohibiting a health occupations board from denying a license, certification, or registration to an immigrant if the individual meets all educational, training, or professional requirements for licensure, certification, or registration; and requiring each health occupations board to require each applicant for a license to disclose the Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number of the applicant and record the number on the application.
Licenses, Certifications, Registrations
SB0187
HB0454
Senator Kagan
Health Occupations - Licenses, Certificates, and Registrations - Immigrants
Hearing 2/07 at 1:00 p.m.
Finance
Prohibiting a health occupations board from denying a license, certification, or registration to an immigrant if the individual meets all educational, training, or professional requirements for licensure, certification, or registration; and requiring each health occupations board to require each applicant for a license to disclose the Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number of the applicant and record the number on the application.
Police certification-legal residents
HB0145
SB0126
Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo
Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission - Police Officer Certification - Eligibility
Hearing 1/31 at 1:00 p.m.
Judiciary
Altering the eligibility requirements for an individual to be certified by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission as a police officer to remove a certain requirement on an individual who is a permanent legal resident of the United States and an honorably discharged veteran of the United States armed forces.
Police certification-legal residents
SB0126
HB0145
Senator Kagan
Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission - Police Officer Certification - Eligibility
Hearing 2/01 at 2:30 p.m.
Judicial Proceedings
Altering the eligibility requirements for an individual to be certified by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission as a police officer to remove a requirement that an individual who is a permanent legal resident of the United States and an honorably discharged veteran of the United States armed forces.
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