Baltimore County Debates Immigration Measure

OWSON, Md. –
Dozens of people gathered in Towson’s Patriot Plaza on Tuesday voicing their opposition to proposed Council Bill 32-17.

Some council members have proposed screening new inmates in Baltimore County for immigration violations and crimes as a part of the fed’s 287(g) program setting the stage for violent offenders to be deported.

“This is about public safety,” said the bill’s sponsor, Councilman Todd Crandell, a Republican from District 7. “This is about removing criminals from our communities.”

But opponents of the measure say it sets the stage for racial profiling in Maryland.

“That’s what we’ve seen in Frederick, Maryland where there’s litigation currently pending. We saw that in jurisdictions around the country,” said CASA Regional Director Elizabeth Alex. “We saw that in Harford County earlier this year where an Asian-American woman who happened to be a U.S. citizen was pulled over by the sheriff’s department.”

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz passed an executive order in March, limiting immigration requests at the local level, in what some viewed as a declaration of a sanctuary county.

“Now, the Republican members of our county council want to bring this unconstitutional brand of Trumpism here to Baltimore,” Kamenetz told the crowd.

“We have a county executive that is positioning himself to run for governor and I think that he’s making a political issue out of what should be a responsible, public safety issue,” countered Crandell.

Whatever the case, for a young immigrant from the Honduras, who reunited with her mother here at the age of 11, the proposal isn’t just about politics or public safety.

It’s personal.

“I’m constantly worried about the safety of my mom,” said Aixa Nunez, an Owings Mills High senior. “especially when she works late at night, cause I don’t know if one day they’re going to stop her and we’ll be separated.”

The county council is set to vote on the bill on Monday, June 5, but the County Executive has already pledged to veto it should it pass.

By Jeff Hager for abc2News
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