Today, the Maryland Democratic Party is proud to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. The Party stands with Maryland’s Hispanic and Latino communities, which make the United States stronger and richer as a result of their diversity, culture, traditions, and immense workforce.
As of 2014 Maryland’s Hispanic and Latino population accounts for 9% of the total population of the state, or over 556,000 people. From 1990 to 2010, this population has more than tripled according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Party also recognizes the need to address barriers to opportunity for Hispanic and Latino communities. Forty-one percent of Hispanic Marylanders reported speaking English less than “very well” so greater resources should be devoted to ESL (English as a Second Language) courses for residents with limited English proficiency. Additionally, 40% of Hispanic Marylanders were not U.S. citizens at the time of the survey, which suggests the need for a greater focus on addressing vulnerabilities facing undocumented residents.
Additionally, disparities in health access and outcomes also persist. Hispanic Marylanders are three times more likely not to be able to afford a doctor, are five times more likely to be uninsured compared to non-Hispanic whites, and have higher overweight and obesity rates among other health disparities. Access to healthcare must be dramatically improved to address these challenges.
The Maryland General Assembly is a proud home to the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus (MLLC). Through policy, activism, outreach and community engagement, MLLC Executive Board members Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, Delegate Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk, and Delegate Gabriel Acevero, along with caucus members in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, are fighting to confront issues affecting Hispanic and Latino Marylanders. The Maryland Democratic Party established a Latino Diversity Leadership Council, currently led by Alicia Altamirano, to further assist in the Party’s efforts to effectively engage and support Hispanics and Latinos.
Democrats are also dedicated to passing progressive legislation that will help to protect and advance communities. In 2011, Democrats were instrumental in leading the fight to pass the Maryland DREAM Act, which allows Maryland students who have attended a Maryland high school for at least three years and graduated to pay in-state university tuition regardless of immigration status. The Maryland DREAM Act became law in 2012 when voters approved it on the ballot by a wide margin. Since then, Democrats in the General Assembly, County Executives, Mayors and local leaders have advocated for progressive policies that provide a pathway to citizenship for all residents.
Together we are stronger.
Following this announcement, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings released the following statement:
“As we commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Maryland Democratic Party stands shoulder to shoulder with our Hispanic and Latino communities, and will continue to support policies that benefit citizens and residents who are documented and undocumented.
Unfortunately, since becoming President, Donald Trump has overseen the cruel policies of separating migrant children from their parents and terrorizing millions with threats of ICE raids. This is not what we stand for as a country, and we must fight back by building our grassroots campaign to turn the White House blue in 2020.
We will continue to be forceful advocates for smart, fair and progressive immigration policies that provide a pathway to citizenship for all U.S. residents.”