from CNS News
(CNSNews.com) – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, in his first televised debate with Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich, repeatedly referred to people who come to this country illegally as “new Americans” on Monday night.
In response to a question, O’Malley called illegal immigration “a huge challenge for our country” and he said the federal government needs to “do a better job” of enforcing the nation’s borders.
He called on Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform “so that people who are here can apply for citizenship, obey the law, and pay their taxes and live in the full light and openness and transparency of our American society.
“I do not believe, as the former governor (Ehrlich) has said before, that multi-culturalism is bunk,” O’Malley continued.
“I believe that we are a multi-cultural people and a multi-cultural country, and from many comes one strong nation. And I also believe that we should not blame new Americans for the problems that our country is going through right now. It’s wrong.
“New Americans did not drive Wall Street into a ditch. New Americans did not have regulators look the other way while credit markets were crashed and driven into the ground with false vehicles for investment. New Americans did not get us into a series of unfunded wars that have driven up debt. I believe we’re all in this together – we’ve got to find a better solution to our immigration challenge.”
Ehrlich, who answered the immigration question before O’Malley did, noted that governors deal with specific issues regarding illegal immigration, including drivers’ licenses, in-state tuition, and funding. He said he vetoed in-state tuition when he served as governor, and he tried to strengthen the process for obtaining Maryland drivers’ licenses but was stymied by the legislature.
Ehrlich singled out the group Casa de Maryland, an immigration advocacy group, for taking state tax money to print booklets that protect illegal immigrants from the “long arm of the law.” He said he'd applaud groups such as Casa if they would focus on “assimilation” and teaching recent immigrants about capitalism, democracy, and economic empowerment.
Instead, “Our tax money is now going to support illegal behavior,” Ehrlich said. “That’s the clear line that really has to be drawn in this campaign. That’s the clear line that taxpayers are demanding.”
American is a pro-immigrant country,” Ehrlich said. The current debate should be about “a singular American culture – capitalism, equal opportunity, unlimited opportunity. That’s what we should be engaged in,” he said.
“Why should we pretend laws don’t count?” Ehrlich asked. “Drivers’ license laws count. In-state tuition laws count. Taxpayer dollars count. Enforcing the law counts.”
Ehrlich said the situation in Arizona is out of control because both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed the country, the taxpayer and “our way of life.”