“If ever there was a time to stand for something, to stand firmly and believe in it and fight for it and leave it all out there, this is the policy.” -Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s)
Maryland’s three minority-based legislative caucuses have joined forces to promote a new Maryland Sanctuary Bill, the purpose of which is to bar law enforcement from complying with federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants longer than required; prohibits local authorities from arresting individuals for immigration purposes; and restricts federal agencies from removing people from schools, hospitals or courthouses. While minorities are unifying behind this cause, polarized conservatives remain in extreme opposition, often citing decreases in property values and increases in violent crimes as potential reasons why the police should be proactively enforcing immigration laws and removing illegal immigrants from within the state. In fact, a Sanctuary Bill that recently passed in Howard County was just vetoed by the County Executive. In doing so, County Executive Kittleman (R) explained:
"If the sponsors had reached out to key stakeholders prior to filing the legislation, they would have learned that it was unnecessary. They would have heard from the Police Department, other government agencies and organizations supporting immigrants that, in Howard County, we do not have a problem with this issue."
In Howard County, the legal immigration population disagrees testifying to incidents where they were falsely targeted for deportation by fellow citizens and law enforcement based on their physical appearance alone.