Commission Background and Activities
Immigration policy is increasingly becoming a topic of interest for many people in Maryland andthroughout the nation. With comprehensive immigration reform stalled at the federal level, stateand local officials are being asked to address various issues relating to immigration and, inparticular, the issues surrounding unauthorized immigration. To gain a broader understanding of the economic and fiscal issues surrounding immigration, the General Assembly passed HB 1602(The Act) in June 2008 authorizing the Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants inMaryland (the Commission) (Chapter 553, Acts of 2008).
Given that the Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland (the Commission)was authorized in 2008, but only formed in 2010, it requested an extension to continue itsdeliberations through 2011. The extension was granted by approval of SB 15 and HB 34(Chapters 174 and 175, Acts of 2011). These acts stipulated that the final report be delivered onor before January 1, 2012. This is the Final Report of the Commission.
The membership of the Commission is shown on Table 1. The Commission members donatedsubstantial time and effort. The University of Maryland College Park and the MarylandDepartment of Legislative Services donated personnel time and logistical resources to staff theCommission.
The Commission's primary mission is to provide fact-based and objective informationconcerning immigration to Maryland State Delegates and Senators. As outlined in itsauthorizing act, the Commission was also asked to provide policy analysis and recommendationsto the General Assembly. The subject areas originally outlined in the legislation included thedemographic, economic and fiscal impacts of
. There is substantial datadocumentation and a large literature of analysis concerning the presence and role of immigrantsin the United States and Maryland.As part of the discussion, the Commission was asked to consider the benefits and costs of
, including the impacts on income distribution, crime, education, andhealth care. However, the available data for evaluating the effects of unauthorized immigrationis much sparser, and it is therefore much more difficult to provide a reliably accurate assessment.Of related importance, the various measures used to reduce the number of unauthorizedimmigrants also have economic, fiscal and social implications. The Commission believes itsreport would not be complete if it did not explicitly address these issues, especially the need forfactual evidence.