Sen. Ben Cardin met with community leaders to discuss the status of immigration reform and offered assurance that a comprehensive bipartisan plan is possible. The meeting, which took place on Monday and was hosted by CASA de Maryland, included area residents, immigration reform advocates and other legislators.
Cardin's discussion comes on the heels of the first week of deliberation by the Senate Judiciary Committee on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
"I am optimistic that the bill will be reported out of the Judiciary Committee this week," he says.
The meeting also occurred just days after a group of bipartisan lawmakers in the House reached an agreement on immigration reform. Cardin says although bipartisan legislation has been hard to come by in the past 5 years, the urgent need for immigration reform is changing the game.
"I think that those who may be reluctant to pass immigration reform now understand the political consequences," he says. "So I think the politics are right, and the policy is certainly needed."
Local union activist Jaime Contreras agrees. "Comprehensive immigration reform is possible this year. The political landscape has changed, and I think our friends on the right have now figured out that this is a good time for them to change their face with the immigrant community."
Maryland has an estimated 275,000 undocumented immigrant residents, according to the latest figures released by the Pew Research Center.