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On immigration, Frederick defies the law

Laws and LegislationImmigrationJustice System

It becomes very obvious that the defenders of Frederick County's intrepid terrorism of all immigrants (not just undocumented ones) haven't read the Fourth Circuit's reported case of Santos v. Frederick County Board of Commissioners which stated that "lower federal courts have universally — and we think correctly — interpreted Arizona v. United States as precluding local law enforcement officers from arresting individuals solely based on known or suspected civil immigration violations."

It is my understanding that Frederick County wishes to continue to harass immigrants notwithstanding the result in Santos ("Frederick's folly," Aug. 11). Which means that by doing so they are now breaking the law unless they receive a specific grant of authority from the U.S. Attorney General to specific local officers.

And what are the chances that those defending Frederick County's brutal treatment of immigrants understand that immigration violations are not criminal matters? Or that any of the Frederick County illuminati has read the text of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which was an executive order granting an exemption from immigration enforcement to those who meet its criteria?

The best thing the Fourth Circuit did for Ms. Santos was to remand leaving the door open to municipal liability (that means you, Frederick County) when its "policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the [plaintiff's] injury." I know Frederick County wants to be known for its blatant hostility toward foreigners, but if I read the decision in Santos correctly, it seems like they are in the process of spreading a gargantuan welcome wagon for trial lawyers.

It has become clear that on immigration matters, appeals to reason, religion, morality or even the force of law do no good to minds poisoned by xenophobia. But they can be hit in their collective pocketbook where it hurts.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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