We are a nation of immigrants, and America needs an immigration system that lives up to our diversity.
My great grandfather came to America more than 100 years ago. Like most new Americans, he was poor, didn't speak any English, and was discriminated against. But he loved America, worked hard, and forged a better future for his family. A century later, his great grandson is an attorney and State Senator, representing tens of thousands of immigrant families. That's what America is all about.
Earlier in my career, I worked to empower communities and thwart discrimination after September 11, 2001 in my capacity as Senior Counsel to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the Ranking Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. That tenure included work on the (House of Representatives) Homeland Security Task Force (of the Democratic Caucus) during consideration of the Patriot Act. During that period, I wrote the following words for Congresswoman Jackson Lee, which she spoke on the Floor of the United States House of Representatives: "Immigration does not equate to terrorism." It means the same thing today as it did just after September 11th -- that we are a diverse nation of immigrants who need a fair, humane and workable immigration solution.
ABOVE: Roger on the Floor of the United States House of Representatives in 2001 with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
In the Maryland Senate, I've been a leader on immigrant rights, and programs that lift up all Americans. Working with CASA, Progressive Maryland and a coalition of advocacy groups, I helped lead the state in the passage of the historic DREAM Act, co-sponsored the TRUST Act, authored and passed "just cause eviction" legislation, expanded apprenticeship workforce opportunities, and led the fight against dirty polluters that overwhelmingly impact poor, immigrant communities of color.
ABOVE: Roger at CASA de Maryland, anxiously awaiting the election results of the DREAM Act passage
America cries out for a system that recognizes the contributions of all Americans - a pathway for citizenship, a reality that includes the Dream Act, and a nation that embraces our diversity as our strength. As your member of Congress, I'll be a relentless and tireless voice for that progress, just as I have been as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, the Maryland Senate, and in my work as a senior staff members in the United States House of Representatives.
FOX News debate on the Maryland Dream Act referendum with Sen. Roger Manno and Del. Neil Parrott
Posted by Roger Manno on Tuesday, May 3, 2011
ABOVE: Roger defending the DREAM Act, during Maryland's contentious battle in 2011.
ABOVE: Roger standing in solidarity with CASA in support of Adventist Hospital expansion for under served immigrant communities in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties.
ABOVE: Roger with Gustavo Torrez and members of CASA de Maryland at a recent visit