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Maryland Momentum at Immigration Reform Rally

Photo: Tens of thousands of immigration reform advocates will rally in Washington, D.C., this week. Photo courtesy: 32BJ SEIU
Photo: Tens of thousands of immigration reform advocates will rally in Washington, D.C., this week. Photo courtesy: 32BJ SEIU
April 9, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Immigration reform supporters from Maryland will be among the tens of thousands rallying at the U.S. Capitol this week. They say policy victories in Maryland are helping to fuel the momentum for an overhaul of the immigration system at the national level.

According to Jaime Contreras, vice president of union 32BJ SEIU, efforts in Maryland to provide driver's licenses to immigrants who are not in the state legally, and statewide passage of the DREAM act referendum, show a shift in public support for immigration reform.

"Would we have lost the referendum in Maryland, the debate right now at this point I would say would be a little uglier, to put it lightly," he stated.

Contreras said a diverse group of immigrants and advocates from throughout the state will rally Wednesday outside the Capitol, as members of Congress continue high-stakes talks about the fate of the 11 million people in the U.S. who are undocumented.

Contreras said he has high hopes the issue will be resolved this year, ahead of next year's midterm elections.

"It really feels different this time around," the union official said. "I would say I'm very cautiously optimistic that this is the year that it's going to get done."

A recent Pew Research Survey shows seven in ten Americans believe there should be a way for immigrants who meet certain requirements to stay in the United States legally.

Link to Pew study: PewResearch.org.

Link to rally information: Citizenship-Now.org.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD