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From: A Maryland Reader
This was the response I received from Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, my home state. I emailed her asking her not to support any legislation that would increase immigration, legal or otherwise. Compare this weaseling response with her appalling voting record.
For those not acquainted with how Maryland's Eastern Shore fisheries operate, it used to employ local workers, and the semi-skilled labor needed there was done largely by black people. Everyone I know who associated with these fisheries said that the black women who worked there did tremendous work, particularly when quickly removing all the meat from crabs by hand. So much for that "jobs Americans won't do" theory.
Jobs are hard to come by on the Shore, so I doubt there were people who didn't want the available jobs.
"Dear [name withheld]:
"Thank you for contacting me about immigration and the current debate about immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
"First and foremost, I want you to know that I believe our nation's immigration system is broken. Millions of people try to enter America illegally each year. At the same time, at least 11 million illegal immigrants live in the shadows of American society.
"I believe that we need to protect America's borders. This means providing more resources to increase border security. It means tougher penalties on employers who hire illegal workers. I also don't believe that we should offer amnesty to illegal immigrants who are currently in the country.
"Yet, it is entirely unrealistic to think we can round up and deport the over 11 million illegal immigrants who are currently living in the United States. This would waste resources without solving the problem of illegal immigration.
"We need a solution to the immigration problem that is tough and fair. We need illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows and register with the U.S. government. We also need to create an orderly system to control the flow of immigrants while respecting human dignity. Immigrants who work hard and play by the rules should be able to get on a path to U.S. citizenship. These immigrants should pay their taxes, learn English, and not have criminal records. They also have to go to the back of the line, and should not be able to earn citizenship quicker than anyone who followed the current process. This path to citizenship means that immigrants will have to work hard, prove that they want to become Americans and earn their citizenship.
"I also want you to know that I am working on sensible bipartisan solutions to fix our legal immigration programs. For example, I have been working with a bipartisan group of Senators from states around the country that rely on temporary and seasonal immigrant workers to reform the H-2B visa program. In Maryland, many of our seafood companies cannot find enough workers and these shortages threaten to close businesses and destroy American jobs. I want to see good guy small businesses, that play by the rules and follow the law, have the opportunity to employ legal immigrant workers. Continuing a practical legal immigrant worker program that rewards those who play by the rules is one of my primary goals as the Senate continues to debate immigration reform.
"I believe that immigration reform should be bipartisan. I will continue to work on finding sensible, bipartisan solutions to fix the immigration system. Your views on immigration will be useful to me as the Senate continues to debate this issue.
"Thanks again for getting in touch with me. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you in the future.
"Sincerely, Barbara A. Mikulski, United States Senator".