Examining Maryland's Views on Immigrants and Immigration
43 University of Baltimore Law Forum 1 (2012)
35 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2012 Last revised: 24 Jan 2014
Date Written: December 10, 2012
This article consider's the politics of immigration from the perspective of one state grappling with divergent and confusing federal immigration policies. Although Maryland is not a state that attracts national attention for its treatment of immigrants, its many jurisdictions (with their varying histories and demographics) offer an interesting contrast in approaches taken in response to differing federal initiatives. When immigration regulation moves to the state-level, it reveals the sharp divides that exist within states; it does not resolve the federal-level contradictions, but simply shifts their playing field. The divergence of policies even within a generally pro-immigrant state like Maryland reveals the difficulty for states when the federal government devolves significant enforcement responsibility to the states, with no ability to concurrently devolve responsibility for benefits. The article concludes that recent Congressional paralysis on matters of immigration has inexcusably moved a contentious political conversation to a level of government with no authority to address its real substance. Maryland’s difficulties finding state-wide solutions to the regulation of immigrants within its borders offers a cautionary tale, making it all the more essential that the federal government, and Congress in particular, summon the courage to create a more sustainable framework.
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