Immigration Bills Heard Before Senate Committee

One would require state & local cooperation with DHS.


Annapolis, Md (KM) Legislation to require state and local correctional facilities to cooperate  with federal immigration officials is making its way through the Maryland General Assembly. The bill sponsored by Frederick County State Senator Michael Hough (R) would require local and state jails and prisons to notify the US Department of Homeland Security if they’re housing an inmate wanted for immigration violations.

“A couple counties, larger jurisdictions, like Montgomery County, basically have stated on the record that they are ignoring immigration detainers from Immigration Customs and Enforcement, ICE,” says Hough.

A detainer is a request from another law enforcement agency to detain an individual whose wanted in another jurisdiction.

If his bill passes, Hough says these jurisdictions could no longer do that. “My bill basically just says they need to cooperate with federal officials on individuals that are arrested and they’re here illegally. And they need to cooperate with the federal government on it. We can’t have sanctuary jails in Maryland,” he says.

He says all jurisdictions should work with federal officials when it comes to immigration. “Frederick County is in compliance with this and actually goes above and beyond. But other counties, like Montgomery County, are ignoring this and basically just releasing these individuals despite the federal government saying ‘hey, they’re here illegally and they might be wanted in connection with these other crimes.’ They’re releasing them, and that puts people in Frederick County and throughout the state in danger,” says Hough.

The legislation has the support of Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, whose been participating in the federal 287(g) program for several years. It   allows deputies to check on the immigration status of those they arrest. Other Sheriffs in support of the bill are Jim Dewees of Carroll County, Jeff Gahler of Harford County and Michael Lewis of Wicomico County.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on that bill Tuesday night. The panel also heard testimony that evening on legislation which would prohibit law enforcement in Maryland from cooperating with federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.


By Kevin McManus