Legislators disapprove Kamenetz’s immigration order
Last week, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz signed an executive order that formalized police policy on undocumented immigrants in Baltimore County.
The order was drafted, Kamenetz said, in response to President Donald Trump’s recent crackdown on illegal immigration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threats to withhold money from state agencies who do not abide by Trump’s immigration orders.
“As an attorney, I am confident that the Presidential effort to investigate and detain immigrants is contrary to the Constitution, and Baltimore County will not disregard the law protecting individual rights,” said the County Executive.
The order signs into law that police cannot profile residents based on their immigration status. A county police officer cannot ask about someone’s immigration status just to initiate civil enforcement of immigration proceedings unless
there’s a criminal warrant for that person, it states.
“The President’s directives are causing fear and panic among otherwise law abiding residents. I am particularly concerned about the impact on children, and the chilling effect that is impacting productive police-community relations. Children are afraid to go to school, women are afraid to report domestic abuse, and families are afraid to seek medical care in a hospital out of the fear of deportation. We won’t let that happen in Baltimore County. Today’s Executive Order will make that crystal clear,” said Kamenetz.
The text of the order states that its goal is to ensure all residents must feel safe to cooperate with Baltimore County Police Officers to report crimes and offer assistance in resolving criminal activity, regardless of their status.
The decision invoked ire from local legislators, many of which have protested against making Baltimore County a “sanctuary city”.
“Our state has become a Disneyland for illegals who are receiving free rides and benefits. State taxpayers are forced to pay over a billion dollars to educate, medicate, and incarcerate the so-called new Marylanders. Baltimore County, which is suffering from declining neighborhoods and growing poverty, has become a victim,” said Del. Pat McDonough (R-7).
McDonough, who is running for the County Executive position that Kamenetz will vacate in 2018, said that if he is elected he would abolish all sanctuary policies and work closely with Federal Immigration authorities.
“The age of amnesty, promoted by Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton, has finally come to an end. There is a new sheriff in town who will enforce the law,” said McDonough.
“The move to make Baltimore County, a sanctuary county, is dangerous. I have been fighting efforts it in the Senate from Maryland becoming a sanctuary state. Refusing to allow state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in enforcing the nation’s immigration law is breaking the law,” said Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-6).
Del. Bob Long (R-6) called the executive order a political move by Kamenetz and started a petition on his website calling for opposition to this policy.
“I oppose Kevin Kamenetz’s executive order that prohibits county law enforcement from inquiring about the immigration status of illegal felons. We need to identify and notify I.C.E. about illegal felons that are drug dealers, rapists, murderers, etc. Protection of our communities is left up to elected officials and this is a bad policy,” said Long.
“These sanctuary policies will harbor those that violate the law and promote lawlessness,” said Del. Robin Grammer (R-6).
“I do not and will not stand behind sanctuary state laws. Orders like this handcuff those the police officers and other law enforcement agents from protect our communities,” said Del. Ric Metzgar (R-6).
The order outlines that those who are currently held in jail cannot be held past their release date absence the existence of a court order signed by a judicial officer. It also states that these conditions cannot be construed to prohibit any Baltimore County Police Officer from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the investigation and apprehension of undocumented immigrants suspected of criminal activity.
The Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence Sheridan said that order will not change much with his department’s policing, as officers typically don’t ask about a person’s immigration status.
The plan took effect immediately after Kamenetz’s signature.
Kamenetz is reportedly eyeing up a gubernatorial run against Governor Larry Hogan, who had recently opposed Maryland as a sanctuary state, saying that he would veto a bill that would codify Kamenetz’s position across the state.