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Weissberg Forum for Discourse in the Public Square: Immigration

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Good evening. Mike Ulrich, NYU and the Global Academic Center, thank you for hosting this discussion tonight.

It is great to see former Congressman Bruce Morrison here this evening -- who has done so much to advance the cause of immigration reform for a stronger America.

I want to share a few thoughts with you as we begin this conversation on immigration and America's on-going journey.

I want to talk with you about the very universal and American idea of full participation.

Most of our families have a story that began somewhere else.

My immigrant great-grandfather, whose name was also Martin O'Malley, came to this country from Ireland.

His native tongue was not English, but the hopes and dreams he had for his children were purely American.

He and many of his fellow New Americans worked hard and risked their lives in the mines of southwest Arizona.

What they worked for, what they were willing to sacrifice and sometimes die for, was the ability to give their children a country of more opportunity and not a country of less.

More, not less

We believe in Maryland that diversity is our greatest strength. We believe that we all do better when we're all doing better.

My friend, Paul Hawken, puts in more scientific terms. He writes, "Ecologists and biologists know that systems achieve stability and health through diversity, not uniformity. Ideologues take the opposite view."

Why -- in the State of Maryland -- are we investing record amounts in our public schools? Why are we doing more than any other state to hold down the cost of college education? Why did we set and exceed the most ambitious goals in the country for minority-owned business contracting?

In a word, "opportunity"; in two words, "more opportunity"; in four words, "more opportunity for all."

You see, the happy fact of American democracy is -- the more fully a person participates in the economic, social, and civic life of our Nation, the stronger it makes our Country.

When all can fully participate, then every individual has a chance to advance and expand the common good that we all share.

Father David Hollenbach of Boston College writes, "Achieving this good calls for a common life in which freedom is more fully shared, for a society in which all people more fully participate in the common goods that can be achieved in their social, political, and economic activity together."

For our own good,…We want more people to participate more fully.

For our our family's good,…We want more people to vote.

For our own children's good,… We want more students to excel in school and go to college, we want more families to be economically secure, and we want more people to be able to open businesses and create jobs.

These things strengthen our democracy. They strengthen our economy. They strengthen the fiscal health of our country. These things make our country more secure.

Political life

We have a chance, with the comprehensive immigration reform bills in Congress, to put America on a more prosperous path -- a path of fuller participation in our Democracy.

We can bring 11 million New Americans out the shadows and into the light of our Democracy. Where they can vote. Where they can open businesses and create jobs. Where they can lend their voices and their skills to weaving the the fabric of a growing democracy -- our Democracy.

The Congressional Budget Office has done the math, and immigration reform means a growing economy,… and a shrinking deficit.

In the first 10 years following comprehensive immigration reform, the CBO projects we would shrink the deficit by $200 billion. In the second 10 years, by $700 billion.

Immigrants are almost twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a new business. Businesses that support families, create jobs, and expand opportunity in communities across the country.

By keeping 11 million immigrants in the shadows, we are missing out. By putting those new Americans on the path to full citizenship, full participation, full responsibility -- empowering them to achieve their full potential -- could create up to 203,000 new jobs per year, and up to $1.4 trillion boost to GDP.

Economic life

More than half of Maryland's population growth since 2000--55 percent--is due to growing immigrant communities, compared to 30 percent nationally.

These New Americans disproportionately fill highly-skilled positions. In 2006, 27 percent of Maryland's scientists, 21 percent of health care practitioners, 19 percent of mathematicians and computer specialists were foreign-born.

Maryland has now achieved the number one schools, the number one median income, and the highest rate of job creation in our region. For two years in a row the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has ranked Maryland the number one state in America for innovation and entrepreneurship. These things did not happen by chance, they happened by choice.

In 2008, we created the Maryland Council for New Americans. Through this council, we're tackling the challenges faced by many New Americans--English proficiency, job training, the transfer of professional credentials, starting on the path to becoming a citizen.

In 2011, we passed the Maryland DREAM Act, so that our 36,000 Dreamers could have access to affordable higher education.

Some who disagreed with us petitioned that law to the ballot. The good people I have the honor to serve upheld it last year,… and Maryland became the first state in the country to pass a DREAM Act through popular vote.

This year, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that makes permanent our two-tier driver's license system so people obtain insurance and drive to work safely and without endangering others.

More secure country

Participation, civic engagement, and inclusion -- these things also make our Republic safer.

Recently, I chaired a task force for former Homeland Secretary, Janet Napolitano, on how to counter violent homegrown extremism.

We found that public-private partnerships designed to promote civic engagement can be the cornerstone of efforts to prevent violent criminal activity,…

When we marginalize and alienate, our entire State, our entire country, becomes less safe. Social exclusion breeds pockets of disconnected entities. Extremism thrives in these shadows of our democracy.

Partnerships like our New Americans Citizenship project with CASA de Maryland. Or our resettlement centers in Baltimore and Silver Spring, where refugees, asylees and trafficking victims can access resources from health screenings to job training and placement.

We also found that law enforcement must be part of those partnerships. The relationship between communities and local laGood evening. Mike Ulrich, NYU and the Global Academic Center, thank you for hosting this discussion tonight.

It is great to see former Congressman Bruce Morrison here this evening -- who has done so much to advance the cause of immigration reform for a stronger America.

I want to share a few thoughts with you as we begin this conversation on immigration and America's on-going journey.

I want to talk with you about the very universal and American idea of full participation.

Most of our families have a story that began somewhere else.

My immigrant great-grandfather, whose name was also Martin O'Malley, came to this country from Ireland.

His native tongue was not English, but the hopes and dreams he had for his children were purely American.

He and many of his fellow New Americans worked hard and risked their lives in the mines of southwest Arizona.

What they worked for, what they were willing to sacrifice and sometimes die for, was the ability to give their children a country of more opportunity and not a country of less.

More, not less

We believe in Maryland that diversity is our greatest strength. We believe that we all do better when we're all doing better.

My friend, Paul Hawken, puts in more scientific terms. He writes, "Ecologists and biologists know that systems achieve stability and health through diversity, not uniformity. Ideologues take the opposite view."

Why -- in the State of Maryland -- are we investing record amounts in our public schools? Why are we doing more than any other state to hold down the cost of college education? Why did we set and exceed the most ambitious goals in the country for minority-owned business contracting?

In a word, "opportunity"; in two words, "more opportunity"; in four words, "more opportunity for all."

You see, the happy fact of American democracy is -- the more fully a person participates in the economic, social, and civic life of our Nation, the stronger it makes our Country.

When all can fully participate, then every individual has a chance to advance and expand the common good that we all share.

Father David Hollenbach of Boston College writes, "Achieving this good calls for a common life in which freedom is more fully shared, for a society in which all people more fully participate in the common goods that can be achieved in their social, political, and economic activity together."

For our own good,…We want more people to participate more fully.

For our our family's good,…We want more people to vote.

For our own children's good,… We want more students to excel in school and go to college, we want more families to be economically secure, and we want more people to be able to open businesses and create jobs.

These things strengthen our democracy. They strengthen our economy. They strengthen the fiscal health of our country. These things make our country more secure.

Political life

We have a chance, with the comprehensive immigration reform bills in Congress, to put America on a more prosperous path -- a path of fuller participation in our Democracy.

We can bring 11 million New Americans out the shadows and into the light of our Democracy. Where they can vote. Where they can open businesses and create jobs. Where they can lend their voices and their skills to weaving the the fabric of a growing democracy -- our Democracy.

The Congressional Budget Office has done the math, and immigration reform means a growing economy,… and a shrinking deficit.

In the first 10 years following comprehensive immigration reform, the CBO projects we would shrink the deficit by $200 billion. In the second 10 years, by $700 billion.

Immigrants are almost twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a new business. Businesses that support families, create jobs, and expand opportunity in communities across the country.

By keeping 11 million immigrants in the shadows, we are missing out. By putting those new Americans on the path to full citizenship, full participation, full responsibility -- empowering them to achieve their full potential -- could create up to 203,000 new jobs per year, and up to $1.4 trillion boost to GDP.

Economic life

More than half of Maryland's population growth since 2000--55 percent--is due to growing immigrant communities, compared to 30 percent nationally.

These New Americans disproportionately fill highly-skilled positions. In 2006, 27 percent of Maryland's scientists, 21 percent of health care practitioners, 19 percent of mathematicians and computer specialists were foreign-born.

Maryland has now achieved the number one schools, the number one median income, and the highest rate of job creation in our region. For two years in a row the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has ranked Maryland the number one state in America for innovation and entrepreneurship. These things did not happen by chance, they happened by choice.

In 2008, we created the Maryland Council for New Americans. Through this council, we're tackling the challenges faced by many New Americans--English proficiency, job training, the transfer of professional credentials, starting on the path to becoming a citizen.

In 2011, we passed the Maryland DREAM Act, so that our 36,000 Dreamers could have access to affordable higher education.

Some who disagreed with us petitioned that law to the ballot. The good people I have the honor to serve upheld it last year,… and Maryland became the first state in the country to pass a DREAM Act through popular vote.

This year, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that makes permanent our two-tier driver's license system so people obtain insurance and drive to work safely and without endangering others.

More secure country

Participation, civic engagement, and inclusion -- these things also make our Republic safer.

Recently, I chaired a task force for former Homeland Secretary, Janet Napolitano, on how to counter violent homegrown extremism.

We found that public-private partnerships designed to promote civic engagement can be the cornerstone of efforts to prevent violent criminal activity,…

When we marginalize and alienate, our entire State, our entire country, becomes less safe. Social exclusion breeds pockets of disconnected entities. Extremism thrives in these shadows of our democracy.

Partnerships like our New Americans Citizenship project with CASA de Maryland. Or our resettlement centers in Baltimore and Silver Spring, where refugees, asylees and trafficking victims can access resources from health screenings to job training and placement.

We also found that law enforcement must be part of those partnerships. The relationship between communities and local law enforcement must be built before an ideologically-motivated crime occurs. The first time that we--as a State-- engage a new immigrant community should not be after a tragedy.

When people vote,…when people feel that their hard work can make the American Dream possible for their children,… then they have a share in this Republic that they will defend with their lives.

Conclusion

Hospitality to strangers is not an American invention.

Hospitality to strangers is a deep and timeless value of human dignity found in the parables, teachings,and stories of every faith tradition -- the three strangers who visit Sarah and Abraham, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the Haditha story of the Prophet and the feeding of the strangers. "And God smiled."

But hospitality to strangers and full participation in the life of our Democracy, is an indispensible part of the genius of this opportunity-expanding experiment we love and call, The United States of America.

This is the truth of E Pluribus Unum--from the participation of many individuals comes the strength of one strong and living Republic.

Every person is needed, and each of us must try.

For truly there is no such thing as a spare American.

Thank you, I look forward to our conversation.w enforcement must be built before an ideologically-motivated crime occurs. The first time that we--as a State-- engage a new immigrant community should not be after a tragedy.

When people vote,…when people feel that their hard work can make the American Dream possible for their children,… then they have a share in this Republic that they will defend with their lives.

Conclusion

Hospitality to strangers is not an American invention.

Hospitality to strangers is a deep and timeless value of human dignity found in the parables, teachings,and stories of every faith tradition -- the three strangers who visit Sarah and Abraham, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the Haditha story of the Prophet and the feeding of the strangers. "And God smiled."

But hospitality to strangers and full participation in the life of our Democracy, is an indispensible part of the genius of this opportunity-expanding experiment we love and call, The United States of America.

This is the truth of E Pluribus Unum--from the participation of many individuals comes the strength of one strong and living Republic.

Every person is needed, and each of us must try.

For truly there is no such thing as a spare American.

Thank you, I look forward to our conversation.


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