An important step toward reducing detention and deportations in our state

March 23, 2021, ELLICOTT CITY, MD — In response to the announcement that County Executive Calvin Ball would be cancelling the County’s contract with ICE, CASA released the following statement from Gustavo Torres, Executive Director:

“Our country is at a crossroads in deciding whether our immigration system will adhere to sought after American values of family unity, constitutional rights, and embracing diversity. Today, Howard County, is sending a message that immigrants are welcome and it will not play a role in their detention and deportation. CASA applauds County Executive Ball for his leadership in disentangling county government from the deportation pipeline and reducing family separation not only in Howard County, but throughout the state of Maryland.”

Over the last two years, Howard County has made it clear that this contract did not reflect our values. Dozens of organizations and thousands of Howard County residents have stepped up to make their voices heard.

CASA member Pedro Jose Ordonez, a Prince George’s County resident, was detained at the Howard County Detention Center.  Hearing the news, he shared:

“This is what we have been fighting for. I just want to be able to see my kids grow, raise them and help them here in Maryland. Nothing will ever bring back the time I lost separated from my family, but I am glad no one else will have to go through what I went through in Howard County.”

Pedro first came to the United States in 1998, when he was only 7 years old. Because he didn’t have legal representation, he was deported when he was 16 years old. Many years later, when he was back in the United States, he was forced to serve 14 months in federal prison for the “crime” of returning to the country after being deported.  After finishing that 14-month sentence, he was immediately transferred to Jessup where he spent an additional 8 months in the immigrant detention center fighting his case to avoid being sent back to Honduras out of fear of survival there. Pedro, like many held for months and sometimes years, ultimately won his immigration case and obtained status in the US.


With over 110,000 members across the states of Maryland, Virginia, and South Central Pennsylvania, CASA is the largest member-based Latino and immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall