New Americans Caucus Is Launched
The New Americans Caucus of the Maryland General Assembly was formally launched this morning, with an agenda of promoting the contributions of immigrants to counter the anti-immigrant mood members say has bubbled up in the legislature.
More than a dozen lawmakers who are immigrants themselves or whose parents and grandparents were immigrants stood together at the event.
"We are seeing some extraordinary proposals before us," said Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Montgomery) who was born in El Salvador, referring to several bills introduced by conservative Republicans that would deny public benefits to illegal immigrants and prohibit a district court from releasing undocumented defendants on bail or their own recognizance.
Caucus members are lobbying Gov.Martin O'Malley (D) to add $1 million to his proposed state budget to kickstart the "New Americans Initiative for Maryland," a community-based effort to promote citizenship for eligible newcomers. More than 100,000 immigrants in the state are eligible to be citizens but have not pursued the lengthy, complicated application process, advocates say.The money would pay for support services at community-based organizations.
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