I strongly disagree with Del. Szeliga’s extremely narrow view on immigration and public safety in her recent commentary “Public safety should not be politicized” that appeared in the Feb. 14 edition of The Aegis.
If the proposed bills House Bill 677 and House Bill 388 are passed, effectively making Maryland a “sanctuary state," our state will not suddenly become a more dangerous place. This legislation means that local law enforcement agents would not be able to detain an undocumented individual for an additional 48 hours (beyond what the law requires) simply because ICE requested it.
Detaining undocumented individuals who have been cleared of all criminal charges, served their time or posted bail for an additional 48 hours means we are actually using our local resources to do a federal job. Complying with ICE detainer requests can also result in lawsuits, which would waste our local tax dollars.
Being undocumented in the U.S. by itself is not a crime; rather, it’s a civil violation. An undocumented immigrant who commits a crime will still be prosecuted for that crime.
Trust between individuals and law enforcement agents help make a community safer. An individual who constantly lives in fear of deportation is unlikely to report crimes or testify in a trial.
Del. Szeliga’s fear mongering makes our great state more dangerous for all Marylanders — undocumented or not. Therefore, I urge all Marylanders to contact their representative to voice support of both HB677 and HB388.
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