Maryland’s largest immigrant advocacy group plans to push for legislation in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties that affirms protections for undocumented immigrants, a measure similar to one that spawned a bitter debate and executive veto in Howard County this week.
Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, told a meeting of immigrant advocacy groups Wednesday that he wants county law to reflect longtime practices in the two liberal and ethnically diverse suburbs, which generally limit collaboration by police and corrections personnel with federal deportation authorities.
New statutes are needed, he said, as President Trump attempts to crack down on undocumented immigrants nationwide.
“We want to keep Montgomery as a welcoming county,” said Torres, announcing that he planned to speak with County Council members next week. “We want to clarify and send a very strong message that all agencies in Montgomery County are not going to collaborate with this administration.”
The use of the word “collaborate” tells us a lot about the views being put forward by Casa de Maryland. It suggests that the duly elected President represents the illegal occupation here and not those aliens who ignore the nation’s immigration laws. State and county authorities cooperate with the federal government on immigration. Turncoats and quislings collaborate. Words and their connotations matter.
Casa de Maryland believes illegal aliens have more of a right to disobey the law than the federal government has to enforce it. It still astonishes me that the left wing politicians actively supporting “sanctuary” policies can do so without legal consequences.
CASA and other advocates are working with state lawmakers to pass the Trust Act, which is based on a California measure and would bar police and sheriff’s departments, for example, from complying with federal requests to hold undocumented prisoners beyond their release date.
Thankfully there are at least some sane people in positions to prevent the left from codifying chaos, for now anyway.
But the outlook for the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s), is uncertain. It has yet to be filed in the House of Delegates, although Del. Marice I. Morales (D-Montgomery) has said she will sponsor the proposal.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has signaled little interest in limiting the reach of federal immigration enforcement. Shortly after taking office in 2014, he reversed the policy of his Democratic predecessor, Martin O’Malley, and agreed to notify U.S. authorities when an undocumented immigrant targeted for deportation was released from the state-run Baltimore city jail.
Governor Hogan is probably in no hurry to sign sanctuary state legislation. The county executive for vetoed similar efforts voted on by the county council in Howard County, Maryland.
Torres said the political environment at the state level makes it all the more important that similar legislation be pursued in local jurisdictions.
“We don’t know if the governor is going to sign this,” he said.
He vowed that his group will put pressure on cities and counties with the strongest records of protecting immigrant populations from federal law enforcement.
That strategy fell short this week in Howard. County Executive Allen H. Kittleman (R) on Thursday vetoed legislation approved 3 to 2 by the County Council that would have codified policies that bar police from asking about immigration status of criminal suspects, victims or witnesses.
That such a law would even make it to the executive’s desk is disturbing, but some counties in Maryland are already de facto sanctuaries for illegal aliens anyway. These tensions are only going to increase as the Trump administration attempts to crack down on sanctuary policies. Will Trump enforce his executive order denying federal funds to counties directly adjacent to Washington, D.C.? That could get interesting.