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Maryland Dem says 'forget the border,' claims it's a GOP 'talking point' amid call for more legal immigration

Rep. David Trone, D-Md., urged listeners at a Maryland Senate candidate forum to "forget the border," saying it's a GOP "talking point" while calling for an increase of legal immigration.

A Democrat in the race to represent Maryland in the Senate urged listeners at a recent candidate forum to "forget the border," calling it a "Republican talking point and a distraction" as he pushed for an increase in the total number of migrants allowed to legally enter the U.S. each year. 

The comments from Rep. David Trone, D-Md. – who is running against Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks to become Maryland's next U.S. senator – came as he discussed affordable housing during an April 2 forum in Towson, a Baltimore suburb.

Asked about his plan to address the "lack of affordable housing," Trone suggested that the prices of houses have reached new heights in recent years because there’s not enough supply to meet the demand.

Trone said the U.S. is "650,000 workers short in the construction industry" and insisted that’s a result of America’s immigration policies.


"You know who builds all of our homes in the construction industry, virtually all? Latinos," Trone said. "Our immigration policies just don't make any sense. We need more lawful [immigration]."

"Forget the border, that's a Republican talking point and a distraction. Let's talk about how do we drive our economy," he said. "We drive our economy with folks that have ideas, that don't look like me, that look different. The difference of all of us, our diversity, that's what makes us such an unbelievable, incredible country — our diversity."

Trone argued that the cap on the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the U.S. each year should be increased.

"Right now, we have one million immigrants come in a year, legally, for the last 25 years. We've never changed it in the last 25 years. Why? Because Congress is waiting for comprehensive immigration reform."

Trone suggested that voters should call for one "small step" after the other until the number of migrants allowed to legally enter the country each year is increased.

"That's what we do in business. We do one small step at a time until we get the whole thing done," he said.

"We need to take that one million to five million," he added. "Five million legal immigrants by in-country immigration. In-country immigration means you don't come to El Paso and say, ‘I’m presenting myself,' you're in El Salvador, you're in Haiti… and you go to the American embassy, you go to the American consulate."

Pointing to companies like Apple and eBay, Trone claimed that immigrants create "tens of millions of jobs."


Trone also noted the long wait times for those seeking to immigrate to America legally, saying 26% of those who have already been approved to come to the United States from seven different countries "will be dead when they get admitted."

"We've approved them, but they haven't gotten to the front of the line yet. And [26%] won't make it to the front," he added.

Trone's campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment about his remarks.

Trone – a leading candidate in the crowded Democratic primary field of 10 candidates seeking to replace retiring Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. – has represented Maryland's 6th Congressional District in the House since 2019.

The comments from Trone came after he declared his support for granting citizenship and voting rights to the millions of illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. during a separate candidate forum in March.

"We need to welcome all 12 million folks here now that are DACA, TPS, and undocumented – make them citizens, and move forward. They have all the rights everybody here should have also," Trone said at the time, referencing Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also known as "Dreamers," who were brought to the U.S. as children by illegal immigrant parents, as well as migrants granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The winner of the Democratic Senate primary election will likely head to a general election matchup against former Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who entered the race in February.

Hogan, a popular critic of former President Trump, is the leading GOP candidate among his primary challengers.

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