Why Maryland won’t let a new law take effect until 2020
(AP) — Maryland lawmakers voted Wednesday to keep the state’s new law on the books until 2020 at the earliest, a decision that some say was a major disappointment for advocates for immigrants, minorities and the poor.
The Maryland Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to keep certain state protections on file for the undocumented while lawmakers work to finalize a revised version of the state bill.
The legislation would allow Marylanders to apply for work permits, pay their taxes and file income tax returns in their state of residence and waive some financial burdens for people who are undocumented.
Maryland would be the only state that doesn’t have an undocumented worker protection law.
The state bill would also extend protections for Marylanders living in Washington state, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona, and would allow them to apply to stay in Maryland after the state passed a law last year to remove a blanket ban on residents from Washington state.
Lawmakers had expected to pass the legislation Wednesday and send it to Gov.
Larry Hogan, a Republican, for his signature.
But Hogan had threatened to veto it if lawmakers didn’t act before the end of the year, and Democrats on the Senate committee who pushed the bill said they expected to lose the support of Hogan.
Republican Rep. Scott Horsley said he voted against the bill because he feared the law would have a “chilling effect” on undocumented immigrants in the state and others seeking to live in the U.S. The legislation would have also required undocumented immigrants to show proof of legal residency.
In a news conference, Hogan said he would consider the bill, but said he wouldn’t sign it unless it was modified.
“I don’t think it should be a surprise if the legislature didn’t get this done this year,” Hogan said.
“I think we should be doing this as quickly as we can.”
The bill has drawn sharp criticism from advocacy groups, immigrant rights groups and advocates for those who are most vulnerable to deportation.
The bill would have created a statewide coordinator to help undocumented immigrants navigate Maryland’s new rules, a move critics say will make it harder for people with limited English proficiency to get work permits.
Hogan said the new law was meant to help immigrants.
“It is our hope that the state of Maryland will take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that undocumented Marylanders have the tools they need to get ahead, to succeed and to contribute to our state and country,” Hogan, who has been in office since 2011, said in a statement.
Lawyers for the state, which has been hit hard by the recession, said the law is necessary to protect workers, including those who provide the state with some of its most valuable services.
But the Maryland Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it’s not fair to expect people to pay taxes in their home state if they’re not eligible to work there.
The law does not provide for other types of payments, like social security checks.
The law also includes a new requirement that immigrants pay income tax on income they earn in the same state they live.