America’s immigration system is fundamentally broken, especially for Hispanic communities. Years of inaction in Congress have allowed millions to remain undocumented, living in fear and uncertainty. This is immoral and demands reform.
Hispanics represent over 10% of Maryland’s population. According to Dr. Gabriela Lemus, in 10 of 21 counties, Latino students comprise more than 10% of the student body. In three of these counties, it’s 20% or more. And in Prince George’s, it’s nearly 40% based on 2018 data. As the proud son of Cuban immigrants, I understand the struggles faced by Hispanic residents. Our outdated laws fail to reflect Maryland’s diversity or America’s founding ideals of inclusion.
From deportations tearing apart families to exploitation of undocumented workers, current policies undermine our values. We need comprehensive reform centered on humanity, compassion,and equal opportunity.
A system that forces millions to live in the shadows undermines public safety and strains social services. Bringing undocumented residents out of the shadows through legal status helps integrate immigrant families into the fabric of our communities.
We also cannot ignore that America’s past foreign policies and intervention in Latin America have fueled much of the instability and violence driving immigration to the U.S. We must acknowledge this complex history.
How We Will Solve the Problem Together
As your Senator, I will fight for inclusive, just immigration reform. This means:
- A pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, including 636,000+ in Maryland.
- Permanent protections for “Dreamers” who know no other home than America.
- Safeguarding human rights and family unity by ending detention/deportation for nonviolent migrants.
- Protecting workers and prosecuting employers who exploit undocumented labor.
- Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers consistent with America’s legal obligations.
- Streamlining our bureaucratic legal immigration system to promote naturalization.
My immigration policy will be guided by the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” America must remain a beacon of hope and opportunity for people worldwide.
I will also increase personnel, technology, and efficiency improvements to eliminate backlogs and delays within the immigration system, while enhancing integrity. Smart reforms will balance compassion and rule of law.
To process backlogs before welcoming additional immigrants, we could consider capping annual immigration at 500,000 per year on a temporary basis. However, this cap should be reassessed annually based on backlog progress to ensure it is not needlessly restrictive.
My priority will be efficiently eliminating the current application backlog through funding more immigration judges and staff. With resources in place for timely processing, immigration levels can be responsibly raised again. America has always found strength in diversity.
How We Will Advance the Issue in Washington, DC and Maryland
In Congress, I will sponsor comprehensive reform legislation aligned with the principles above. America’s diversity is our strength.
I will build coalitions among lawmakers to enact bipartisan, enduring solutions. We cannot allow partisan divides to obstruct progress any longer.
In Maryland, I will uplift the voices of our vibrant Hispanic communities. My office will also help eligible residents complete the naturalization process to become US citizens.
And I pledge to listen to immigrant families about the real-life impacts of failing policies. Your experiences will inform our march toward progress.
The Benefits for America and Maryland
Fair, compassionate immigration reform will strengthen communities, boost our economy and reaffirm our diverse national identity. Hardworking immigrants have always made America greater.
By embracing bold, inclusive solutions, we can create a more just country that fulfills its founding promise as a land of liberty and opportunity for all. Progress is possible if we rediscover shared values of humanity, empathy and hope. I will be that champion in the Senate.
Immigrants bring vitality, culture, and innovation to American life. Their dreams and contributions make our state and nation thrive. The time has come to enact reforms that empower our immigrant neighbors to fully participate and unleash their potential.