Maryland’s anti-detention law does not favor immigrants


Democratic members of the Congress of the Maryland State Legislature were successful in passing the Dignity, not detention law, (HB 16), without a single republican vote; moreover, they managed to primordial Governor Larry Hogan’s veto on the bill. Should they celebrate these victories?

HB 16 prohibits state and local courts from entering into agreements facilitating immigration-related detention by private entities; to approve a zoning exemption or a permit for the construction or reuse of buildings that will be used by private entities as a detention center for immigrants without first notifying the public and holding public meetings for comment; and enter into or renew an immigrant detention agreement.

It also prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status while performing regular police duties, and it requires counties that have detention agreements to do so. terminate by October 1, 2022 at the latest.

HB 16 supporters say this is one of the most important elements of immigration reform since the enactment of the Maryland Dream Act, which made scholarships available to undocumented immigrants in the state.

HB 16 sponsor Del. Vaughn Stewart, noted, “By … rescinding the governor’s veto on this, Maryland will send an overwhelmingly strong message that we are better than ICE, we are better than this depravity, we are better than for-profit family separation, and we stand up for the dignity for every Marylander person in this state.

According to at Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of HOUSE, an immigrant advocacy organization, “Maryland has already decided to protect black and brown immigrant families by mass transit” HB 16; he also accused Hogan of being “well known for his xenophobic policies”.

Cathryn Paul, government relations and public policy manager for CASA, said, “This is a big step forward in making Maryland a safer place for immigrants and a place that treats immigrants with dignity. “

William C. Smith Jr., chairman of the Committee on Legal Proceedings, said, “This bill prevents us from profiting from family separation.

Of the. David Moon added that the state would no longer allow “its counties to have for-profit family separations to balance budgets.”

The problem?

As Governor Hogan Explain when it vetoed the law, Maryland had no private prisons, and it had absolutely no intention of initiating plans to authorize such facilities.

The law is a solution in search of a problem.

The law requires the termination of all immigrant detention agreements with local jurisdictions – but, as Hogan noted, state correctional and detention facilities do not commit to these agreements, and only three of 23 counties in Maryland have them.

Immigrants currently detained in these counties will be sent to facilities in other states, separating them from their families and making it more difficult for them to stay in touch with their community.

I agree with former Immigration Judge Andrew R. Arthur that this Maryland law will not help any detained immigrant – and will hurt quite a few of them.

Oddly enough, HB 16 is actually inviting private prisons, Hogan noted, by allowing a private company to build or acquire a new facility for migrant detention purposes, provided the appropriate community contribution is solicited.

Finally, although police officers do not usually inquire about immigration or citizenship status during a stop or search, they may have reasons to do so during an arrest.

Maryland Legislature reversed Hogan’s veto on a largely partisan vote on December 6.

The demands of the people who support the bill make no sense to me.

Detention of immigrants is no punishment. With the exception of compulsory detention, the purpose of detention is to ensure that apparently deportable immigrants will show up for their hearings and leave the United States if ordered to be deported. The law allows detained aliens who are not subject to compulsory detention to apply for bail or personal engagement.

ICE records Pin up that 23.6 percent of migrant families and 18.3 percent of adults who were released last year either fled or did not respect the conditions of their release.

Detention decisions are not racist, xenophobic, or designed to separate families. they implement legal dispositions which were drafted and adopted by our elected representatives in Congress.

If immigrants held in Maryland detention centers are not treated properly, it would make more sense to deal with the abuse than to force ICE to move them to detention centers in other states. There is no reason to believe they will get better treatment in another state – and it will be more difficult for family and friends in Maryland to monitor their treatment.

When the detention centers were firm in New Jersey, ICE transferred detainees to other detention centers in states such as Louisiana, Georgia and New York.

United States District Judge John Michael Vazquez Recount an ACLU lawyer who had tried unsuccessfully to prevent ICE from transferring immigrants out of New Jersey, “It just seems like it was not well thought out on behalf of advocacy groups.”

Maryland and New Jersey aren’t the only states to be refusal to provide detention centers for migrants. California, Washington, Nevada, and Illinois all have laws that limit or prohibit the detention of immigrants.

If this trend continues, it will gradually injure more inmates without helping any of them.

Nolan Rappaport was seconded to the House Judiciary Committee as an expert in immigration law from the executive branch for three years. He then served as an Immigration Advisor for the Immigration, Border Security and Claims Subcommittee for four years. Prior to working on the Judicial Committee, he drafted decisions for the Immigration Appeals Board for 20 years. Follow his blog at


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