From the ACLU:
People deserve to feel safe in our communities. People deserve to feel that their government will uphold their rights and that law enforcement will serve and protect them. But many of our immigrant neighbors don’t feel safe reporting crimes to the police.
Many Marylanders have been harassed with questions from law enforcement like “Where were you born?” Many Marylanders have been detained for hours by local authorities for no reason other than to assist with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Immigration detainer requests are a key tool ICE uses to drag local law enforcement into their immigration enforcement efforts. This practice destroys local community members’ trust in law enforcement and forces them to live in the shadows.
In Maryland, most immigration detainers are lodged against individuals with traffic or very minor offenses, and the overwhelming majority target persons of color, particularly Latinx people.
SB 817/ HB 913 would help rebuild trust between communities and local law enforcement agencies. It would prevent law enforcement from inquiring about a person’s citizenship status during routine police functions and ensure that when an individual becomes eligible for release on state charges, the person is not held solely on the basis of an immigration detainer request.
Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Baltimore City, Howard County and the City of Hyattsville have all implemented similar policies. It’s time for the state of Maryland to do the same. Tell the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to support SB 817/ HB 913.
Dana Vickers Shelley
Executive Director, ACLU of Maryland