It was with deep pride that I cast my ballot in 2012, taking the opportunity to help make Maryland the first state to recognize same-sex marriage, not through a court order or legislative action, but by the popular will through the ballot.
I oppose discrimination in all its forms, and we must constantly work to ensure that citizens will be on equal footing and have equal protection regardless of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, height, weight or favorite color.
I would have hoped that there would not need be much for me to say on civil rights in the sense that my support should go without mentioning, but the new administration in DC has cast doubt on our hard-won progress and forces me to take a stand.
ON OUR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY
Being married to an immigrant, and having worked hand-in-hand with my wife as she navigates the legal immigration process, I know very well the stress that comes with that process, and the fear of losing everything due to an arbitrary decision by a single bureaucrat or a misunderstanding with legal authorities. It’s crystal clear to me that immigrants, documented or otherwise, tend to be law abiding and prefer to keep a low profile out of this concern.
And so, I support those communities in Maryland that have chosen to designate themselves as “sanctuary cities,” communities in which local police make a point of not pursuing immigration status as grounds for arrest, and I would support the state as a whole adopting a similar designation. Certainly, I feel that our communities should be welcoming places to all their members, but I also support sanctuary cities on the very practical grounds that such policies make law enforcement easier, as undocumented immigrants will be more inclined to share information about crimes if they don’t fear deportation as a consequence of coming in contact with local officers.
ON OUR MUSLIM COMMUNITY
Maryland was founded, in part, to provide a safe haven for religious minorities, specifically English Catholics, in the 1600s. Our state can be considered the birthplace of religious freedom in America, and that is a legacy in which we should all take pride. I will fight and use the full extent of state law to block any attempt by the current, or any future, administration to create a “Muslim registry,” to pursue an immigration ban that targets Muslims, or similar persecution as it may relate to any other faith.
I support the settlement of Syrian refugees into Maryland, and would gladly welcome them into the diverse fabric of my own neighborhood. Having seen firsthand how difficult it can be for a foreign national to get a simple tourist visa to visit the U.S., I have tremendous confidence in our immigration officials’ ability to do due diligence in the screening process.
Welcoming and accepting immigrants from war-torn or otherwise desperate conditions cuts to the heart of what America should be, and I will not stand for fear-based decisions that cut against our moral fiber.Back to the Issues