COLUMBIA, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today held a roundtable discussion on immigration reform with community leaders to discuss the importance of enacting a workable framework for comprehensive reform. The U.S. Senate is scheduled next week to begin consideration of the Border Security Economic Opportunity and Immigration Act, S. 744, historic legislation with bipartisan support that would strengthen border security, create a fair legalization program, and create a workable system to ensure that employers only hire legal workers in the future.
There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the United States. In Maryland, there are an estimated 275,000 undocumented immigrants, accounting for 4.6 percent of our state’s population and 6.2 percent of the labor force, according to estimates by the Pew Research Hispanic Center.
Senator Cardin has spoken out in support of comprehensive reform legislation that will ensure our borders are secure and create a process that will give millions of undocumented immigrants an opportunity to emerge from the shadows and find a path toward citizenship if they want to stay in this country.
“There is strong bipartisan support for immigration reform and for creating a fair pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the United States,” said Senator Cardin. “We should not forget that immigration reform also is about keeping families together and ensuring that immigration laws are respected.”
Despite fears that immigrants will take jobs from Americans, numerous studies show that immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs. In fact, a 2009 study by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, found that immigrants have a positive effect on the workplace.
The business sector strongly supports comprehensive immigration reform because our economy is in need of highly skilled workers that can help stimulate growth and keep our nation at the forefront of innovation and invention. From 1990 to 2005, foreign-born nationals founded more than 25 percent of the technology startups in the United States, including Google, e-Bay, Yahoo, and Intel. These companies now employ 220,000 people in the United States.