April 24, 2018
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Maryland Trust Act

Derek Fink
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April 19, 2017

Since the election of President Donald Trump, the news media has focused a great deal on his policies to stop illegal immigration. With new policies that are trying to crack down on illegal immigration, liberal Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly attempted to pass legislation called the Maryland Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act, which would turn Maryland into a “sanctuary state.” This bill would have limited local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials.

The local governments in Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have already passed similar provisions, but I do not believe the state should be able to tell county governments how to run their police departments. This month, I cosponsored Resolution 12-17 asking the Maryland General Assembly to vote against this bill because of the negative effects it would have on Anne Arundel County and its law-abiding citizens. Immigrants are an integral part of our society, and legal immigration has and will continue to strengthen our country; we should not, however, welcome illegal immigration into our state by not cooperating with federal immigration officials.

The resolution that I co-sponsored garnered some attention at the county council meeting when it was introduced and voted on. Many people showed up to testify that the resolution was somehow anti-immigrant. The resolution asked the General Assembly to vote against the piece of legislation that makes our state a safe haven for illegal immigrants. The key word here is “illegal.” It is unfair of us, as public servants, to safeguard illegal immigrants when so many immigrants have come to this country the legal way. As a country, we need to enforce the laws that are in place, and as a county, I believe we have a right to help federal officials enforce immigration laws currently in place. The resolution passed the county council because a majority of council members understood the detrimental effects legislation like this could have on our state and county.

The bill, not surprisingly, did not pass the General Assembly this session. Several prominent Democrats were opposed to the original bill for various reasons and tried to put forth a more watered-down yet still dangerous version of the bill, which did not gain any traction and did not become legislation.

We should not pass any legislation that would foster illegal activity in our state. By not working in conjunction with federal authorities, we are telling illegal immigrants that Maryland is a place where they can hide from the laws they have broken to enter this country. It is a slap in the face to immigrants who have come here legally and spent time and money doing so. Illegal immigration and sanctuary city laws put the citizens of that jurisdiction at risk and can put further strain on governmental resources. If legislators do not like the immigration laws in our country, they should try to change the laws, not create areas where people are openly allowed to break the laws that are currently in place.

I believe we should encourage and foster a partnership with federal authorities to help rein in illegal immigration and work with federal lawmakers to make immigration policies less cumbersome on those who are trying to do the right thing by legally entering this country. Immigrants are vital to this nation and contribute in many significant ways, and allowing illegal immigrants a sanctuary is a slap in the face to those hardworking individuals who entered this country legally.

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