IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

Maryland State

When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The sojourners who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

— Leviticus 19:33-34

The insistence that we behave with care, equity, and love toward the stranger appears 36 times in Torah; it is the most-repeated command in the entire Torah. Our sacred texts insist that we turn our own historical experiences of being outsiders in many foreign lands into compassion for those experiencing the same today. As Jews and as human beings, we are obligated to make sure that those of us who were not born in our community are as safe, and as healthy, as those of us who were. 

Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg writes, “It has been enacted that in every place in which Jews live, the community sets aside a fund for care of the sick” (Responsa Tzitz Eliezer, 8:11). All people deserve access to quality healthcare. The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), should be open to all Maryland residents, regardless of their immigration status.

Who’s Impacted:

  • Undocumented Marylanders, their families, and our communities as a whole, especially Black and brown community members.

Key Committees:

  • Senate Finance (FIN), Chair: TBA
  • House Health & Government Operations (HGO), Chair: Jocelyn Peña-Melnyk (Prince George’s County)

Legislative Details:

  • Affordable Care Act Inclusion
    • Everyone should have access to the highest attainable standard of health services. No one should get sick or die because of their income or immigration status. 
    • More than 40% of undocumented residents are uninsured, which is why we and coalition partners are calling on the General Assembly to expand ACA eligibility to this group.
    • Opening up the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to all Marylanders, regardless of immigration status, would reduce health inequities during an ongoing pandemic.

Key Partners: CASA

As we build on our organizing and advocacy from the past few years, JUFJ prioritizes deepening relationships with existing partners and coalitions and honoring the commitments we have made in past years.

To maximize our effectiveness, we engage in a full scope of work on a limited number of campaigns, and impact other campaigns in a more limited way by submitting official JUFJ testimony and/or signing JUFJ’s name to a list of supporters. For more information about our agenda setting process for the Maryland 2023 state legislative session, click here.

Related Events

  • Maryland Community Meeting & Chanukah Candle Lighting

    December 21 | 7:30 pm9:30 pm

    Join us for our next virtual Maryland Community Meeting, where the Maryland Center on Economic Policy will present on budget advocacy. MDCEP’s training will cover how folks can advocate on budget issues, especially in light of the state’s new budget process this year. We will begin the meeting w…

  • First Day of MDGA23 Legislative Session

    January 11, 2023 | 11:00 am1:00 pm

    Join fellow JUFJers to advocate for our issues and greet legislators as they arrive for the first day of the Maryland General Assembly legislative session!

  • Maryland Community Meeting

    January 11, 2023 | 7:30 pm9:30 pm

    Join us for our next Maryland Community Meeting, where we’ll discuss campaign updates and how we can best move our work forward. All are welcome!

Campaign Organizers

Additional Legislative Positions:

In addition to JUFJ’s key legislative priorities this session, we support and will provide testimony on the following bill:

  • Probation, Not Deportation (SB265) – This bill would provide equal access to justice for immigrant Marylanders by eliminating unintended immigration consequences from minor contacts with Maryland’s criminal justice system.

We oppose the following bill:

  • SB404 – This bill excludes immigrant Marylanders from tax relief.