Washington, DC – As the U.S. Senate began debate this week on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) spoke on the floor to outline his goals for comprehensive immigration reform. Video of his remarks can be downloaded here or watched here. Over the last few months, Senator Cardin has held roundtable discussions with Marylanders around the state to solicit their ideas and concerns about immigration reform.
“We are a nation of immigrants and we need an immigration system that is fair – fair to those who want to come to this country and fair to those who have been born hear or living here their whole lives. My grandparents came to this country seeking a new life for their family. Our story is similar to the story of millions of other American families,” Senator Cardin said.
In Maryland today, about one of every seven Marylanders is foreign born. According to the Urban Institute, immigrant households pay nearly one-fifth or $4 billion of all taxes collected in Maryland, including federal income taxes; Social Security; Medicare taxes; state income, sales, and auto taxes; and local property taxes, income, sales, auto, and utility taxes.
“Immigration is very important for our country and our economy. We need highly-skilled workers who innovate, create, and help move our country forward. All of our workers should be protected under our laws and not just some. At the same time, we also need strong border security. We need to know who’s coming into this country and we must make sure that we have a legal system that protects the homeland. We need a balance.” Senator Cardin added.
“I want to compliment the core sponsors of this bill who came together across the aisle to develop this package. It is a product of compromise. It’s not what any one of us would have written, but it does balance the security of our country, border security, and a lawful system for employment with the realities of 11 million people who currently are living in the shadows and now will have an opportunity to remain in this country in a lawful way, be able to work, and ultimately to become citizens of the United States of America. But those individuals have to earn their way. They have to pay taxes, they have to learn English, they cannot break our criminal laws, and they have to go at the end of the line. This is a fair bill. It’s a bill that at long last fixes our broken immigration system.”
During his remarks, Senator Cardin shared two stories of Marylanders who had reached out to him with their personal immigration stories. Video can be downloaded here or viewed here.
“We hear the numbers when we talk about immigration, but when we look at the faces of the people involved we know that we have to act.”