Dignity Not Detention Act and Maryland Driver Privacy Act Passed Overwhelmingly in Regular Session
Annapolis, MD – Immigrant advocacy organization CASA hosted a rally calling on the Maryland state legislature to override the vetoes of critical immigration reform bills during the special legislative session, which started Monday, December 6. CASA seeks the Dignity Not Detention Act, a bill to end private ICE detention in Maryland, and the Maryland Driver Privacy Act, a bill to prevent ICE from abusing the confidential information of immigrant drivers. Both bills were passed with a veto-proof majority during the last session and promptly vetoed by Governor Hogan.
“Maryland has already decided to protect Black and brown immigrant families by overwhelmingly passing these two critical immigration bills,” said Gustavo Torres, CASA executive director. “We are counting on the legislature to override the vetoes of a governor well-known for his xenophobic policies. The Dignity Not Detention and Maryland Driver Privacy Acts will revolutionize the way the state upholds the immigrant community.”
The Dignity Not Detention Act (HB16) ends private ICE detention in Maryland by ending existing agreements between counties and ICE to detain immigrants – and prohibiting the state from entering into new agreements. The bill also prevents law enforcement from asking immigration status, citizenship or place of birth during a stop or arrest.
“I believe Dignity Not Detention is a crucial bill that will help immigrants be treated more fairly,” Pedro, a Prince George County resident, said. He was detained by ICE and subjected to inhumane treatment. He is asthmatic and had difficulty getting to the infirmary for his inhaler.
“I was concerned that I was not going to make it to medical. That I would faint there and probably die,” closed Pedro.
The Maryland Driver Privacy Act (HB23) stops ICE from abusing the private information of immigrant drivers by requiring that ICE officers get a warrant before searching data or scanning photos held by MVA or other Maryland agencies. In addition, the bill ensures that ICE doesn’t have direct access to Maryland databases – they have to go through state officials.
Karla Rodriguez is an undocumented immigrant from Honduras and a CASA housing justice leader in Riverdale Park. She has 3 boys aged 11, 5, and 1. She is afraid of getting a driver’s license because she knows ICE uses the MVA database to find immigrants.
“As a mother I know the importance of having a vehicle and sometimes I dread not having it when my kids get ill. I urge the Maryland State Legislature to override the governor’s veto on the Driver Privacy Act to ensure that mothers like me won’t be detained or deported for driving my children to a doctor’s appointment or to school,” Rodriguez said.
About CASA: CASA is a national Latino and immigrant organization serving over 122,000-lifetime members across 46 states. Visit us at www.wearecasa.org and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall.