CASA, and its more than 50,000 Members, Applauds Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for Leadership in Curtailing the Excesses of Immigration EnforcementPosted May 19, 2014 /
For immediate Release
María José Sandoval
CASA, and its more than 50,000 Members, Applauds Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for Leadership in Curtailing the Excesses of Immigration Enforcement
Governor halts use of notorious “Secure Communities” program in Baltimore City Jail, Saving Untold Families from Separation
(Baltimore, MD) — Immigrant rights advocates responded with relief today in response to the news that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley had ordered the halt of the so-called “Secure Communities” program at Central Booking in Baltimore City, a facility operated by the state. This policy change comes as a relief to the many thousands of immigrant families that call Baltimore City home and will improve public safety for all residents.
“Martin O’Malley exemplifies the best principles of great leaders – honoring diversity, taking leadership when others fail, and executing decisive action when needed,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland. “We applaud the Governor for protecting our families and making our communities safer.”
So-called “Secure Communities” is a broadly discredited federal program that forces local law enforcement into a deportation pipeline. During hearings held in Maryland this year in support of the Maryland Law Enforcement Trust Act (SB554/HB29), legislators heard from public safety officials, such as Prince George’s States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, that the nexus between public safety and immigration enforcement undermined community policing and criminal prosecution efforts. Committee members also heard from children who had lost parents to “Secure Communities” enforcement and victims of crime that had not reported their assaults because of fears of police/ICE collaboration. This spring, a special investigation by the Baltimore Sun revealed that Maryland had one of the highest rates in the country of Secure Communities deportations of immigrants that had committed no or very minor crimes.
A broad array of faith, civil rights, community organizations, and labor unions will continue to press for adoption of a similar policy statewide in Maryland. But, today, advocates are thrilled with this enormous step forward.
“I feel very happy that there are political leaders that understand the crisis of family separation,” said Marysol Plata, a CASA member and resident of the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore. “I will feel much more comfortable reporting problems that I see in my community now that I know that the public safety system will not work with ICE