How many of Md.'s 480,000 new residents are illegal?

It is good news Maryland's population has grown by 480,000 ("Maryland population grows by 480,000," Dec. 22). That's a sizeable jump and will mean more taxes for the state, more consumers to purchase goods and services and increased funding to our pension programs.

However, there was no mention as to the legal status of the expanding Hispanic population. The Latinos make up about 7 percent of Maryland's population and now account for 40 percent of the state's growth since the last census was taken. Are these folks here in compliance with our immigration laws, or are they working in the undocumented, untaxed underground?

It's no secret the undocumented workforce rarely pays into Social Security, and it's doubtful they enrich the state's tax coffers. I support a national program whereby foreigners could come to this country legally when the jobs Americans won't do are available. Then, if an employer cannot find a U.S. Citizen capable or willing to take on a task, the opening could go to any lawful person desiring it. That way taxes would be paid and Social Security deducted. Also, if such a program were in place, foreign workers would be humanely treated and protected under our health and safety regulations.

I believe we need more demographic clarification about the Maryland population increase. Will this influx of newcomers be a benefit to us or will it be a drain on our tax-payer funded services?

Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore

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