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  1. #1

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    MD: Lawmakers skeptical of illegal-immigration bill

    Lawmakers skeptical of illegal-immigration bill
    By Bradley Olson | Sun reporter
    March 5, 2008

    The most comprehensive of a series of bills seeking to make Maryland a less hospitable place for illegal immigrants got a cold reception in a legislative committee yesterday, as lawmakers questioned whether it would cost more to implement than it would save.

    Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell, the minority leader from Southern Maryland, proposed cutting off all state benefits to those who cannot prove they legally reside in the U.S., exempting only the benefits that are required by federal law, such as emergency health care and public education.

    "Those who come here illegally detract from those who come here legally," said O'Donnell, who opened his remarks by noting that he was the grandson of immigrants and supported legal immigration.

    He added that the legislation was passed in Colorado by a Democrat- dominated legislature and "was recommended" this year by the Council of State Governments, a nonpartisan national public policy organization.

    But he was met with skepticism by members of the House Appropriations Committee, who pressed O'Donnell on what precise impact the measure would have in the state.

    "What evidence do you have that this is a problem in Maryland?" asked Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, a Montgomery County Democrat and immigrant advocate who has said many of the 30 bills dealing with immigration this session are "hate-filled."

    O'Donnell said he did not have any and expressed disappointment that a report from the Department of Legislative Services did not more clearly delineate what the impact of the bill would be. He added that he believed state agencies that claimed the measure would be too costly implement were being recalcitrant.

    That answer prompted a rebuke from Del. Mary-Dulany James, a Cecil County and Harford County Democrat, who urged him to be more prepared.

    "Please try and gather as much information as you can so we have a better sense of what is this problem that needs a solution," she said.

    O'Donnell replied: "I guess I'm not nearly as adequate a legislator as you are." He went on to say he hoped to work with the committee and wanted the bill to be a first step to discussing the issue.

    Citing a 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office, Maryland legislative analysts wrote that legal and illegal immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in government services, due largely to the fact that they are ineligible for most federal programs, including Social Security, food stamps and Medicaid.

    But illegal immigrants may use more in state and local government services, which usually cannot deny help, the policy analysis said.

    "Consequently, while the federal government receives a net benefit from undocumented immigrants, state and local governments realize a net loss with undocumented immigrants paying less in state and local taxes than the cost to provide services to that population," the report says.

    The bill, as well as another in the House Ways and Means Committee dealing with whether instate tuition should be granted to illegal immigrants, spurred some of the most passionate testimony of this year's General Assembly session.

    Susan Payne, a Montgomery County resident, said she believes an influx of illegal immigrants in her community had led to more crime and what she termed "impromptu boarding houses," where she said 17 or 18 people lived and parked their cars.

    "We've seen the effects, not just in dollars and cents, but we've seen it in the deterioration of our communities," she said. "And I don't think it's because we've all of a sudden gotten an influx of the Amish."

    Advocates who testified said the bill could adversely affect U.S. citizens who qualify for benefits but who are not be able to prove they are living here legally. In one hypothetical example, Kerry O'Brien, an attorney for Casa of Maryland, the state's largest Latino and immigrant-rights group, said an elderly woman who might have a license because she stopped driving might be denied benefits under the bill, or at least that the legislation could create insurmountable barriers some people who legally qualify for state help.

    "This bill creates unnecessary burdens on a wide variety Maryland agencies, when most benefits and services are already either explicitly restricted or required by federal law or U.S. Supreme Court decisions," she said.

    bradley.olson@baltsun.com

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/ ... 1161.story
    If your ILLEGAL...get out of my country...get out of my state...get out of my community...get out of my face!...otherwise, have a nice day!
    http://nebraskaobserver.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
    napanic's Avatar
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    quote]Advocates who testified said the bill could adversely affect U.S. citizens who qualify for benefits but who are not be able to prove they are living here legally...[/quote]

    Give me a flippin' break! Any legal American has documentation that they are legal, or if not can get it. Ever hear of birth certificates, Social Security numbers, etc., etc., etc

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