CASA Congratulates Hyattsville, Baltimore City For Passing Immigrant-Friendly Laws Activists Call on other Jurisdictions to Follow Lead

Posted December 7, 2016 /

WASHINGTON (December 7, 2016) _ CASA is encouraged by the move in some Maryland municipalities to protect, uplift and grant some limited rights to undocumented residents within the city while hoping other jurisdictions will follow suit.

CASA applauds the city of Hyattsville for passing an ordinance Tuesday allowing all residents to vote no matter their immigration status. Hyattsville has a large Latino population and this measure gives them a say in the way their city is run.

Baltimore City a passed a law Monday that will provide municipal identification cards to any city resident who asks for it. The new law goes a long way to support a vulnerable immigrant community that is under attack.

The IDs will make it easier for homeless people and immigrants, many of whom don’t have a driver’s license, to access services such as public libraries, recreation services and schools.

“We think this is a victory for immigrant communities that are facing an uncertain and difficult moment politically,” said Elizabeth Alex, CASA’s Regional Director. “It is up to municipalities like Baltimore City, Hyattsville and other places with large immigrant populations to stand up and recognize, protect and safeguard immigrants.”

Outgoing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reaffirmed Baltimore as a “Welcoming City” to immigrants during a press conference last month shortly after the election that gave a win to President-elect Donald Trump.

Baltimore City has promised the information obtained through the issuance of IDs will not be shared with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department or other agencies.

Early on in his campaign, Trump vowed to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, while calling Mexicans ‘rapists.’ Since then, he has walked back such extremist language but has nonetheless been in cabinet appointment talks with radical anti-immigrant proponents such as Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to be the country’s next Attorney General.

Trump has also promised to cut federal funding to cities that protect immigrants, a move tried by the Republican-led House of Representatives in 2015.

“We are calling on municipalities that value diversity and immigrants’ contributions to speak up on behalf of this vulnerable group of folks,” said CASA’s Executive Director Gustavo Torres.

CASA is calling on other municipalities like Fairfax and Arlington, Va. to follow the humane and compassionate path of other municipalities that value residents who are immigrants.

Other places are already showing leadership on this issue.

Cities like Washington D.C., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles along with area counties such as Prince George and Montgomery Counties have promised they will not notify the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement when undocumented immigrants who have minor offenses are located within their jurisdictions.

Other local jurisdictions also have a number of proposals that would make Maryland one of the most welcoming states in the country.

Tuesday night, Mount Rainier’s council members took up the issue of allowing undocumented residents of the city to vote in municipal elections. A vote is expected after a review of the ordinance.