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  • Writer's pictureJim Caldiero

I Don't Want to Live In a Maryland Where We Fear our Neighbors....

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

While many things are faster today, from cars to communication....

Our Immigration System is not one of them.

While it used to only take hours to be accepted as an immigrant at Ellis Island in my hometown of New York City. It can take anywhere from 6 months to several years to be granted asylum and more than 50% of requests to remain in the U.S. are denied. But there is one thing that can increase their chances significantly. Did you know that immigrants in Maryland who are represented by attorneys are ten times more likely to win their cases to remain in the country? That’s why in 2022 we asked the Maryland General Assembly to enact access to legal counsel in immigration proceedings and we will ask again in 2023.

Also, building on legislation passed last year extending Medicaid coverage to pregnant individuals and their babies regardless of immigration status; we will seek in 2023 to expand this access to health care to all immigrants.

Primarily, UULM-MD advocates for our UU values at the state level, but in 2022 we were also successful at the county level using texting technology to help our Howard County neighbors defeat a referendum to repeal the Liberty Act which prohibits county employees from asking about immigration or citizenship status or national origin during the course of their official duties. In fact, we texted almost 24,000 Howard County voters and look forward to using the technology during upcoming legislative sessions.

The campaign to repeal the Liberty Act showed that there are some in our community who foment fear of those who seek refuge and asylum from political, social and climate oppression. It is a fear, as most fears are, that is founded on misinformation. Instead of being a drain on our economy, undocumented immigrants in Maryland paid nearly $400 million in federal taxes and nearly $250 million in state and local taxes in 2018. In addition, while opponents of the Liberty Act were claiming that immigrants were dangerous, Howard County was voted the safest county in the state.

I don't want to live in a Maryland where we fear our neighbors.

I want to live in a Maryland where children’s greatest fear is that they will get a bad grade, not that their parents will get deported. I want to live in a Maryland where everyone has access to healthcare, not just when they are pregnant with the next generation. I want to live in a Maryland where everyone has legal representation regardless of where you are from. Growing up in New York, I saw firsthand how immigration could work seamlessly and help newcomers have a chance for a better life.

That’s the Maryland I work to create, every year.

And we need your help, please donate today!

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