Maryland Democrats sitting on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee summoned some backbone March 26 and killed a measure two foreign-born lawmakers sought to prohibit communities from voluntarily participating in the federal 287(g) or Secured Communities Program.
Only three Republicans sit on the 11-member committee.
The proposal would have forbidden Frederick County law enforcers from checking the immigration status of anyone arrested in the country and turning the information on and holding illlegals for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The action came just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Frederick County regarding an abuse of the program.
Frederick County Sheriffs illegally arrested Salvadoran immigrant Roxana Santos in 2008 on a civil immigration warrant in Frederick. She said they detained her and checked her immigration status only because she looks Hispanic. County officials claimed Santos raised suspicion by trying to hide as the deputies drove past her as she ate lunch outside her workplace.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Baltimore agreed with Santos, who sued. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the matter March 24 after the county appealed.
State Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George’s) said he was disappointed the committee chose to vote down his bill. However, his efforts to educate lawmakers about immigration issues will continue, and his proposal will likely return next session, he added.
“In nine months, we’ll be back here again, and we’ll try again. Unfortunately, in nine months, more people will be separated from their children,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez introduced SB 554 and Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Montgomery) proposed the House version of the bill, HB 29.
Commentators on the Frederick News-Post summed up arguments for and against bills well.
“Can [Frederick County] Sheriff [Chuck] Jenkins give us the number of illegal aliens that his Department has arrested since 2008 for felonies and for misdemeanors, and how many of each that have actually been deported? That is the only way the success of the 287g program can be measured. My guess is none. But if I am wrong, please enlighten me.”
Another said, “…(E)ntering this country without permission is against the law...what is it you don’t understand about this. Laws are made to be followed ...not broken…”