Our 2020 Policy Priorities can be viewed here.
Restoring trust between police and the communities they serve
- The Maryland Law Enforcement TRUST Act
- The TRUST Act would specify that local law enforcement decline non-mandatory civil requests to hold people for pick-up by immigration. The TRUST Act is needed to restore the trust between immigrant communities and the law enforcement institutions they need to rely on for protection by decoupling the immigration and the public safety arenas. Maryland interest in this crisis arose as a result of multiple notorious cases of otherwise law-abiding Marylanders facing deportation and family separation as a result of very minor and sometimes pre-textual arrests. Similar legislation has passed in 19 jurisdictions including the States of California and Connecticut.
Better protections for undocumented victims of crime
- U Nonimmigrant Status – Certification of Victim Helpfulness (U-Visa)
- This bill defines a time frame by which local law enforcement must process the U visa certification. The U Nonimmigrant Status (U Visa) is granted to victims and witnesses of crime who cooperate in the prosecution or investigation of such crimes. Currently, the certification by local law enforcement could take a long time, often leaving the individual vulnerable to deportation. The bill establishes that local law enforcement must certify victims within 90 days of the request or within 14 days of the request if the individual is in removal proceedings.
Protecting access to healthcare in Maryland
- In addition to working to maintain the provisions of the Affordable Care Act , the group will push for an individual mandate down payment bill . It would require people in Maryland to pay a fine if they don’t have health insurance, but it would let them use the fine to make a down payment on a health insurance plan. The caucus also plans to work toward bills that protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and make prescription drugs affordable.
Ensuring educational opportunity
- The caucus will target addressing inequities in opportunity and achievement in schools by:
- Ensuring that districts and schools serving high concentrations of students of color and low-income students have the resources they need — from early childhood education opportunities, to a strong and diverse teacher workforce, to sufficient per pupil funding and equitable access to college and career readiness pathways;
- Making timely data on racial inequities in achievement — and in access to critical resources — transparent and readily available to parents, community members, researchers, and policymakers.
- Dreamers are currently restricted to applying to 2-year colleges before applying to 4-year universities. Legislation would be proposed to allow Dreamers to apply directly to 4-year schools.
Better wages and opportunities
- The caucus will support legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. All Maryland family wage earners need a living wage.