Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

O'Malley May Add Immigration Czar to Cabinet

Gov. Martin O'Malley says he's inclined to create a cabinet-level ombudsman position to deal with the needs of Maryland's growing immigrant population, after a council he commissioned to study the issue recommended that and other new programs on Thursday.

"I don't think it's too much to ask," he said, adding that he would have to study how the state might be able to afford a staff for the new post even as he contemplates state employee furloughs and other budget cuts to close the remainder an estimated $700 million shortfall.

"Sometimes there are five or six people doing jobs in various departments that if elevated and given focus, can get the job done much better," he said in Rockville at the conclusion of his "Capital for a Day" program that drew about 200 people for an open-air cabinet meeting in the city's Town Square.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, one of two co-chairs for the Maryland Council for New Americans, used the gathering to unveil the recommendations of the report O'Malley commissioned early last year.

The full report, titled "A Fresh Start, Improving Immigrant Integration for a Stronger Maryland," is expected to be released next month.

According to Leggett, 45 percent of all Maryland immigrants live in Montgomery County; and 30 percent of residents in Rockville are foreign-born. The demographics of those groups don't reflect the current perception of immigrants, he said.

Maryland's immigrant workers are more likely to have college degrees than their native counterparts (43 percent to 36 percent), according to the draft report. Some 27 percent are scientists, 21 percent are health care workers and 19 percent are computer specialists. According to the report, a third of the state's maintenance workers and a quarter of the construction, agriculture and food workers are immigrants.

In all, immigrants have accounted for 96 percent of Maryland's work force growth in the past decade.

State Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, the council's other co-chair, noted that the immigrant population also is more diverse than many may expect.
It's near equal parts Hispanic (29 percent), Asian (28 percent) and African (25 percent), according to the report.

"People think this is a Latino thing, and it's not," Perez said.

Leggett said he thinks a cabinet-level "Office for New Americans" is critical for the state to maintain its commitment to helping immigrants through future administration changes.

"What we're dealing with in Montgomery County will soon be identical to what the entire state will be experiencing," he said. "We have a chance to do it right, to be an example."
In addition to the cabinet post, the report calls for:

  • Establishing and funding "a robust coordinated citizenship initiative."
  • Reducing financial burdens on legal permanent residents pursuing citizenship.
  • Creating "New American Welcome Centers" to coordinate immigrants' aid.
  • Strengthening and standardizing English training statewide.
  • Reducing frauds and scams that prey on immigrants.

By Aaron C. Davis  |  July 30, 2009; 3:41 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , Governor  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: County Governments Rank High for Online Services
Next: O'Malley Will Back Light Rail for Purple Line

Comments

An "immigration czar" in a state?

I thought immigration was a federal issue?

OK, that may be the straw that broke the camel's back.

Posted by: bushido11 | July 30, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

The immigration czar duty is deported these illegal alliens out of Maryland.

Posted by: nativeva1 | July 30, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

"State Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, the council's other co-chair, noted that the immigrant population also is more diverse than many may expect.
It's near equal parts Hispanic (29 percent), Asian (28 percent) and African (25 percent), according to the report."

This is a straight up lie! You mean to tell me that the majority of the hispanics here are native born, please. You must be excluding illegals.

Posted by: StLou | July 31, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

If the new "czar" does something to deport the illegal immigrans, the burden they place on the State of Maryland would be removed and the budget crisis could resolve itself.

It's so straightforward and simple that they O'Malley Administration would never, ever do it.

Posted by: NeverLeft | August 4, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

according to the draft report ... 21 percent [of immigrants] are health care workers, 19 percent are computer specialists, a third of the state's maintenance workers, and a quarter of the construction, agriculture and food workers are immigrants.
------------------------
Obviously, with Maryland's demographics, a huge number of these workers (who are employed in jobs that Americans desperately need) are illegal aliens. The health care workers have access to our SSNs and can spread diseases for which they haven't been screened, the maintenance workers have access to our personal information after hours in offices, the construction workers probably contribute to the poor quality of construction due to language barriers, and the agriculture and food workers can also spread communicable diseases rapidly. As for Perez's lie, when was the last time that anyone saw an Asian landscaping crew? O'Malley shouldn't spend a dime of my money on immigration unless it's to deport illegals and incarcerate their employers.

Posted by: Voter4Integrity | August 4, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you commenters have better information, more scientific information? This is what the census says too. How do you know that "most hispanics" here are illegal? You don't. Federal and state statistics, including the dept of homeland security say that around 70 of all immigrants are completely legal. Besides, most state services requires proof of legal residency to get them.

None of you above show any valid evidence to back what you are saying. Stop pretending and just be straightforward. It is obvious. You are racists.

Posted by: pgflashlight | August 5, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

{Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) says he's inclined to create a cabinet-level position to deal with the needs of Maryland's growing immigrant population}

OMG, needs??? He should be dealing with the crisis of illegal immigration...not their needs. Cripes, this is way out of control and adding Ike to the mix is stupid.

Casa de Malley is going to have solar panels installed on the governors mansion...wonder if he'll use the same illegals that painted the mainsion. Oh, that's right, that paint company was raided by ICE! Giddy up!

Posted by: Kikibon51 | August 6, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company