Harford sheriff nudges Baltimore County executive to join immigration law enforcement efforts

Harford sheriff wants Baltimore County to join efforts to identify illegal immigrants.

One day after Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz declared his county's police officers wouldn't get involved in removing undocumented immigrants from college campuses, a neighboring sheriff called on him to do more toward immigration law enforcement.

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler sent a letter to Kamenetz Tuesday encouraging him to "join the effort to identify those non-law abiding individuals who are in our Country illegally and those who pose a real and credible threat to public safety."

Gahler, a Republican, recently signed an agreement with the federal government to train his deputies to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement to carry out limited immigration enforcement. In doing so, Harford joined Frederick County as the second Maryland jurisdiction to participate in that program, known as "287(g)."

Gahler continued: "As a neighboring county, we know that crime issues and criminals do not recognize our jurisdictional boundaries, and making Baltimore County safer makes Harford County safer."

Kamenetz, a Democrat, received the letter Tuesday and declined to comment, according to spokeswoman Ellen Kobler.

On Monday, Kamenetz announced his policy which follows pronouncements already made by some college leaders that they would protect students from deportation.

The announcements of such "sanctuary campus" policies are somewhat speculative. Though President-elect Donald J. Trump promised on the campaign trail to crack down on illegal immigrants in various ways, it's not clear yet how he may follow through.

Kamenetz was criticized by some Republicans as engaging in political posturing. Kamenetz is weighing whether to run against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018.

Baltimore County is home to five colleges: Towson University, Goucher College, Stevenson University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Community College of Baltimore County.

pwood@baltsun.com

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