In these austere budget times not a dime of the taxpayers' dollars can be wasted. We need to recapture taxpayer dollars that are being funneled to illegal immigrants. The cost to the state taxpayers for education, medical care and incarceration alone is estimated at $1.4 billion annually, according to a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. That is a cost of $800 per family in the state of Maryland and is unacceptably high. We must immediately cease all funding to organizations like CASA de Maryland who use taxpayer money to help illegal immigrants break our laws.
Maryland must require proof of legal presence to obtain government services. Hardworking American citizens are losing their jobs because illegal aliens are doing the work more cheaply. This is unfair and government cannot tolerate it, much less subsidize it. Businesses that receive state contracts must be required to participate in the federal E-Verify program to ensure that their employees are legally authorized to work. With unemployment still hovering at 10 percent in this county, this measure will ensure that only those who are lawfully admitted in the United States can work here. We must also close the loopholes that still exist in our driver's licensing system and become completely compliant with the federal Real ID program.
Finally, every law enforcement agency in Maryland should participate in the federal 287g program. I introduced this legislation last session and will continue to support this effort to improve the safety of our communities. This allows law enforcement officers to act as immigration officers in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. Frederick County has had a great deal of success combating gangs and improving public safety.
The federal government would rather waste time condemning the actions of Arizona than working toward securing our borders. It is clear that it will be left to the states to enforce immigration law.
The United States is a land of immigrants, but first and foremost we respect the rule of law and must act accordingly.
Christopher B. Shank
Delegate, Subdistrict 2B
Editor's note: Shank is a candidate for the Maryland Senate seat in District 2, which includes most of Washington County.