"I do think the fact that Frederick County does it, the illegals are aware of it," Smith said. "And they say, 'Man, it's not worth it to come here and maybe get deported.'"

State Sen. David Brinkley, a Republican, saw Jenkins out in the community in his police cruiser Thursday night and said there's a reason voters put the sheriff in office twice.

"Illegal immigration wouldn't be an issue if we had the resources to distribute government benefits to everyone," Brinkley said. "What the advocates want is for them to turn a blind eye to the law in this area, and we are critical of law enforcement when they turn a blind eye to other laws."

Jenkins has been compared to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., also known for his aggressive enforcement of immigration laws.

The Supreme Court in 2012 overturned Arizona's law requiring immigrants to carry proof of legal status and allowing local police to arrest people on suspicion of being in the country illegally. The ruling established that the federal government has authority over immigration law.

Melissa S. Keaney, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, said the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling should end Frederick County's "mission of driving out immigrants through these sort of roving scans of people who look like they're undocumented."

Montgomery County immigration attorney Edward W. Neufville II said: "This provides some sort of relief to clients, who for the longest time have asked me: 'If I don't have status, if I'm walking down the street, can I get arrested?'"

Blaine Young, who said he expects the county to eventually prevail in the Santos lawsuit, acknowledged that the case might hurt the county's reputation. He insisted deputies aren't profiling people but trying to enforce the law.

"What this case does is just lend more to the perception of Frederick County that we're profiling," said Young, a rising Republican who's considered a potential candidate for higher office. "Unfortunately, I've gone places they've called us 'Frednecks,' and I've gone places where they call Frederick anti-minority. That's just not true."

ecox@baltsun.com