IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

Maryland State

When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The sojourners who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 

— Leviticus 19:33-34

Everyone in Maryland deserves to live a healthy life, regardless of where they were born and what documents they have. But today, some shortsighted Senators are depriving immigrant Marylanders of healthcare, claiming that saving money today is worth more than the lives of hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents.

The insistence that we behave with care, equity, and love toward the stranger is the most-repeated commandment in the entire Torah. As Jews and as human beings, we are obligated to make sure that those of us who were not born in our community are as safe, and as healthy, as those who were.

JUFJ has worked with our partners for over a decade to make Maryland a safe and healthy home for all of us, regardless of immigration status. With support from legislators, we have taken huge strides toward that goal with the Dream Act, ending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) collaboration with local government to detain the undocumented, and so much more. The House of Delegates passed legislation to make health insurance available to all Marylanders last year, but the Senate has refused to act. If we come together again this year, we know we can win health care for all Marylanders – no exceptions.

Key Partners:

Legislative Details:

Access to Care Act (SB705/HB728)

  • Access to Care Act  (HB728 /SB705)
    • Since its establishment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has granted 28 million people across the country access to affordable health care. However, more than 275,000 undocumented immigrants in Maryland are ineligible for insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.
    • Passing this legislation would require the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to establish and operate the Qualified Resident Enrollment Program, which would make qualified health insurance plans available to all Marylanders who meet the regular ACA eligibility criteria, regardless of their immigration status.
    • Greater access to health care would reduce emergency room visits and mortality rates, as well as increase rates of early detection and improve the long-term management of chronic diseases and serious illnesses. This legislation would make our state a safer, healthier place for all by reducing health inequities and preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
    • This bill is being sponsored by Senator Antonio Hayes and Delegate Bonnie Cullison in the 2024 legislative session. It passed the House in 2023, but not in the Senate.

Key Committees:

  • Senate Finance (FIN), Chair: Sen. Pam Beidle (Anne Arundel County)
  • House Health & Government Operations (HGO), Chair: Joseline Peña-Melnyk (Prince George’s County)

Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) works in coalition and partnership with grassroots and advocacy groups to build and win issue campaigns. Our approach is based on our commitment to racial equity and dismantling systems of oppression, which includes centering the leadership of our most directly impacted partners and being as transparent as possible about our agenda selection process. When we select campaigns, we keep in mind our goals of organizing and mobilizing our base, strengthening coalitions we are part of, and shifting the balance of power in our local communities. This year we have four full scope of work campaigns and we will engage in other campaigns in a more limited way.

  • For more information about our other full scope of work campaigns, click here.
  • For more information about our limited campaigns, click here.
  • For more information about our agenda setting process for the Maryland 2024 state legislative session, click here.

Related Events

  • Maryland District 21 Legislator Meeting

    February 28 | 12:30 pm1:45 pm

    Join other District 21 JUFJers in a Zoom meeting with Delegate Ben Barnes to discuss our agenda for the 2024 Maryland General Assembly Session.

  • Maryland District 17 Legislator Meeting

    February 29 | 5:30 pm6:45 pm

    Join other District 17 JUFJers in a Zoom meeting with Delegates Julie Palakovich Carr, Ryan Spiegel, and Joe Vogel to discuss our agenda for the 2024 Maryland General Assembly Session.

  • Maryland Community Meeting

    March 6 | 7:30 pm9:30 pm

    Join us for our Maryland Community Meeting where we’ll discuss campaign updates and how we can best move our work forward! Join at 7:30 PM for JUFJ 101 if you’re newer to JUFJ, or for a schmooze session if you’re a returning JUFJer. The full meeting will begin at 8:00 PM. All are welcome!

  • Maryland Purim 2024 / 5784

    March 17March 19

    Purim is a joyful Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of Queen Esther, who used her power to help her community during challenging times. We are packing 250 gift bags (half in Baltimore, half in Rockville) to deliver to statewide and Montgomery County elected officials. Join us in packing bag…

Maryland Staff