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Revised immigration Trust Act moves forward in House

Watered-down Maryland Trust Act moves forward.

The House of Delegates watered down a bill aimed at curtailing how much Maryland law enforcement officials can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The bill, introduced as the Maryland Law Enforcement and Trust Act, would have halted programs in which local jails screen arrestees for immigration violations. The revised bill allows the jail programs to continue, but limits the jails to holding people for immigration reasons only if a judge signs off on a warrant.

Frederick County's jail participates in the program, known as 287(g) for the section of federal law that authorizes it. Harford County is preparing to launch a program, and Anne Arundel County has applied to start one.

"It is a compromise," said Del. Marice Morales, a Montgomery County Democrat who sponsored the bill in hopes of ending the jail programs. "I'm a little disappointed, but you can't get everything."

The revised bill also makes it clear that other local and state officials, including police officers and sheriff's deputies, cannot ask people about their immigration or citizenship status, and they cannot collect data solely for the purpose of gathering information on immigration, citizenship or nationality.

The bill passed the House by a 83-55 vote Monday. It now moves to the state Senate, which has not yet acted on a version of the bill.

Hogan says he'll veto the bill.

"The Maryland House of Delegates tonight passed an outrageously irresponsible bill that will make Maryland a sanctuary state and endanger our citizens. This legislation would interfere with our state and local law enforcement's ability to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities. I will veto this dangerously misguided legislation the moment that it reaches my desk."

pwood@baltsun.com

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