This year, Maryland is proud to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass, born in Talbot County on the shores of the Tuckahoe River in 1818.
We all know his story, rising from a slave to become a great advocate for social and racial justice. His was an epic life of struggle. His success, hard-won and against the odds, has inspired Americans thru every generation. His story is our story, his struggle is our struggle, his inspiration is ours today.
But the questions of his day are still with us. America was arguing about immigration then, and we still are. Then, it was the Chinese. He correctly understood that immigration, at its core, involves questions of race, religion, ethnicity, and our own national identity.
He spoke with dignity and power for equal opportunity for people of all races, religions, and backgrounds. He believed strongly then, as I do now, that America should continue to be a welcoming nation for immigrants.
Donald Trump and Andy Harris do not. During his campaign Trump said:
“Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens.” On the facts he’s three for three — wrong, wrong, and wrong. In baseball, three strikes and you’re out.
1. The United States has had decades of below average immigration. This decade is almost 30% lower than the historical average, and five times less than the record rates in the last 2 centuries.
2. Immigration hasn't produced higher unemployment, the reverse is true. Unemployment is highest when immigration is lowest. Immigrants have essentially no effect on the unemployment rate one way or another. We now have the lowest unemployment since the Bush recession.
3. Yes, American workers suffer from wage stagnation – but not because of immigration. Wages have been stagnant for 50 years. The minimum wage is worth less now than it was 50 years ago. The obvious solution is quick and easy: raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hr. Changing our immigration laws, taking away Dreamers' work permits, or worse, deporting them, is no solution to historic U.S. wage stagnation.
So much for Trump.
Andy Harris says, ”Illegal immigration …creates real national security risks for the United States.”
He’s wrong too. Two outs. The numbers don’t add up,. Here's the findings from the conservative think-tank, Cato Institute:
The chance of being murdered in an attack committed by an undocumented immigrant is an astronomical 1 in 10.9 billion per year….the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year. Terrorism-immigration risk analysis
The same holds true for other violent crime.
“Over the last two decades, California has seen an influx of 3.5 million immigrants, mostly Latino, with an estimated 2.4 million undocumented immigrants. According to data from the FBI, the California Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of violent crime in California has fallen by 50% in the same period.” Californians are 30% less likely to die a violent death today than other Americans.
Immigration is good for Maryland’s economy. There are about 34,700 immigrants living the the 1st district, slightly less than 5% of the population. They pay about $335 million in taxes and have spending power of about $840 million. Overall, the U.S. is 65th worldwide in the percentage of population that is foreign-born.
The Dreamers were brought here as children. America should offer them a path to citizenship. That path was laid out by bipartisan legislation in the Senate. It provides that 1.8 million Dreamers, who arrived under age 16, who either are in school or the military, who’ve been here for at least five years with a clean criminal record, will be given the right to work and a path to citizenship over 10-12 years.
This is good for them, good for our economy, good for our District and good for America.
IMMIGRANTS ENRICH US AS A NATION AND AS A PEOPLE - DIVERSITY MAKES US STRONGER
Our District shares in America’s natural riches. From Pocomoke City in the south, Ocean City on the Atlantic, to the Monocacy River west of Taneytown in Carroll County, we have farms, independent business owners, and a thriving economy. We have more shoreline than any other Congressional District in the United States.
The Chesapeake Bay, our rivers, rich soils, and honest, hard-working families, farmers, watermen, merchants, business owners and entrepreneurs create the wealth and security to continue the Promise of America for generations to come. If we continue to work together, we can preserve our heritage and adapt to the challenges and the changes we face. This is the legacy we've inherited from our ancestors, and we should continue it. That's true conservation.
My ancestors emigrated to America from England in 1682. I came to the Shore 40 years ago, a 26 year-old newcomer and started and raised my family here. I chose to plant roots in Easton because I love the Shore and it's people. I’ve represented thousands of families, workers, farmers, watermen, business owners, and local governments in our District. My wife, Connie, has helped thousands of folks and families through the trying times we've all faced at one point or another.
I’ve seen us at our best, I've done my best for the folks I've represented and I'll do my best for you in Congress. Dreamers are no different. They’ve lived here, gone to school here, grown up here, and want to continue to contribute in the same way we all have. They can enrich our lives, our district, and our country. We keep the Promise of America by sharing it and making it grow. By giving it to others we secure it for ourselves. We all benefit because we’re in this together.
I’m Pullen for Us. Contact us, sign up for our campaign. Donate. It’s time for change. We can do this. Join us.