Our diversity is our strength. When I am Governor, I will work to make sure that, regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C., Maryland is a state that welcomes immigrants from all countries and backgrounds who, just like our predecessors, want to come to the United States to give their families a better future. I believe that we have a moral obligation – an obligation that is woven into the fabric of our American values – to be as accepting and welcoming as possible to new immigrants.
As far as I’m concerned, the current dialogue coming from some Republicans, and certainly Donald Trump, is rooted in hate. The message may be covered in half-baked economic populism, but at its core, it is based purely on race. In Maryland, we must, with a unified voice, stand up and say that this hate-filled message is not ours.
Accepting and promoting diversity is the right thing to do, but immigration is also crucial to developing a robust economy as we move into the 21st century. Immigrants are creating the businesses of the future that will provide jobs for decades to come. They are bringing diverse perspectives and new ideas that will help move us forward. We want them to come to Maryland, and we want them to feel welcome here. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. And, in Maryland, 21 percent of business owners are immigrants and 26 percent of STEM graduates are foreign born. In April 2017, nearly 1,500 economists wrote an open letter to President Trump boasting of the economic power that robust immigration brings to the United States.
As Governor, I will work to ensure that Maryland’s laws and priorities regarding immigrants’ rights are fair. On the national level, unlike Larry Hogan, I will use the position of Governor of Maryland and the microphone that comes with it to advocate on behalf of immigrant communities. As Chair of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland, I advocated for a law that granted in-state tuition to Dreamers and oversaw its implementation. I will take these priorities to the Governor’s Office.
I proudly support DACA and the protections it has provided to so many families, and I will work to see it passed at the federal level. I do not believe that state and local police should be tasked with enforcing federal immigration laws. Our immigrant communities should feel comfortable going to local and state police with their problems, or to cooperate with an investigation. Having our local and state police serve as the federal government’s immigration enforcement corrodes the important trust between communities and the police.
America is a nation of immigrants, and Maryland is a state of immigrants. As Governor, I will work hard to make sure that all Marylanders, particularly those who come to our state as immigrants, feel safe and welcome.