Delaney courts Latino youth, embraces ‘clear and short path’ to citizenship

Delaney courts Latino youth, embraces ‘clear and short path’ to citizenship

John Delaney talks to Latino students at Montgomery College.

John Delaney talks to Latino students at Montgomery College.

John Delaney talks to Latino students at Montgomery College.

By Glynis Kazanjian

Justice for Students poster boardSixth District Congressional candidate John Delaney met with a small, but influential constituency Monday night in Montgomery County.

At the Rockville campus of Montgomery College, where the Maryland Dream Act debate began, Delaney told the crowd of Latino students he strongly supported the federal Dream Act and a “clear and short path” to citizenship for the country’s undocumented population.

“I would like to be a voice for comprehensive immigration reform,” Delaney told members of a newly formed student immigrant advocacy group, Justice for Students in America. “Creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million [undocumented] has to be a national priority.”

Delaney’s campaign platform is based largely on job creation and protecting the middle class. He said comprehensive immigration reform would allow the U.S. to be more competitive in the global market place, and there was little evidence to back up the “myth” that immigrants take jobs from Americans.

‘Immigrants create jobs’

“This notion that immigrants take jobs from Americans is just false,” Delaney said. “Immigrants create jobs in this country . . . One of the reasons we don’t have enough jobs is because we don’t have immigration reform.”

In response to a question about constituent priorities, Delaney said if was elected he would work to help his district keep companies already there and attract new businesses.

“Maryland is the third most dependent state on federal spending in the country,” Delaney said. “Maryland ranks 25th or 35th, depending upon the report, in private sector job creation. So we’re really not good at creating jobs that have nothing to do with the federal government. Everyone predicts federal spending will most certainly go down, and the jobs will go with it. We need to replace those jobs with jobs in the private sector.”

Delaney said he thought it was a tragedy that current immigration policy was not offering the same opportunities for work and a better life that his ancestors once had. He also fielded questions about Secure Communities, the federal program that allows local law enforcement to check immigration statuses.

“Secure Communities, which has been expanded by the president, is there to identify felons. There is evidence it works. The application is a little challenging . . . There’s a little bit of the Wild West going on.”

Delaney campaign manager Justin Schall told the crowd that the campaign would be working closely with Dream Act advocates and that Spanish speaking commercials would be coming out.

JSA is a new, national movement that formed earlier this year when 18-year-old Jorge Steven Acuna, an undocumented Montgomery College student, was arrested and nearly deported along with his parents. JSA spokesperson Francisco Cartagena, an undocumented college student, said JSA’s members speak for him because he can’t.

“My dream is up here,” Cartagena said while holding his hands above his head. “This is my home. I became an American. But I’ve had to live my life down here. You folks are my voice. I can’t vote even though I want to.”

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Dale McNamee

    Why have “out of state tuition ” at all ? Whether a student from Maryland or from any other state stays in a dorm room doesn’t matter. Everybody pays the same for books, meal tickets, course costs, activity fees, etc… Same with off-campus housing…

    Giving a “break” for breaking immigration laws rewards lawlessness… These “dreamers” have learned this lesson well !

    Also, why should ANY law be obeyed if people are allowed to break immigration laws ?

    And, it doesn’t help when our legislators do the same !

  2. Sickofthepandering

    Ah, one party rule – a proper path to tyranny….

  3. abby_adams

    More pandering from a clueless politician. With millions of jobless in the USA, how can adding MORE people to the job hunting rolls increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace?  Maybe by driving DOWN wages to 3rd world status? If Delaney’s ideas abt “comprehensive” immigration reform resembles POTUS “comprehensive” health care reform, it will be an expensive, confusing mess!  Enforce the laws ALREADY on the books, then we can look at incremental reforms, not the MASSIVE amnesty bills promoted strictly for more votes. Wonder if Montgomery College still is on the hook for the $$ in discounts handed out to illegals over the years?

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