Former Gov. Martin O’Malley Blogs About Sanctuary Cities and Donald Trump

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Martin O’Malley took to the internet to explain what he views as poor logic behind criticism directed at the United States’ so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.

In a quick essay posted to Medium, former Gov. O’Malley drew on his experience as mayor of Baltimore to defend local leaders who have argued in favor of policies protecting undocumented immigrants and refugees from deportation.

“To listen to Donald Trump or his Press Secretary, you would think we have an epidemic of U.S. Mayors who are actively providing ‘sanctuary’ to millions of illegal Mexican immigrants,” he wrote. “People who Trump has repeatedly characterized as, ‘bad hombres’ and ‘murderers and rapists.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.”

O’Malley then lays out three “unassailable truths.” We’ll summarize these points in case you don’t wish to read them yourself:

  • Unassailable Truth #1: Mayors work harder than any other elected officials to make their jurisdictions “safer,” rather than to adopt policies that produce upticks in crime.
  • Unassailable Truth #2: More people crossed into Mexico from the United States than vice-versa in 2016 (an ongoing trend for several years), which means Trump’s wall doesn’t address a real issue of people flowing without any resistance into the country.
  • Unassailable Truth #3: Immigrants aren’t responsible for increases in crime in U.S. cities – “local native-born American are,” he writes.

The sanctuary status debate has heated up since Trump announced an executive order in his first days as president that he would withhold federal funding from jurisdictions with policies that protect the undocumented from deportation.

Where former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reaffirmed Baltimore’s “sanctuary” status, current Mayor Catherine Pugh said the city would remain “welcoming” but not a so-called sanctuary. In Howard County, municipal lawmakers are set to vote tonight on a measure that would designate the county as a sanctuary area for immigrants, a bill that County Executive Allan Kittleman vehemently opposes and is ready to veto.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he instructed police not to help federal immigration agents deport college students, earning admonitions from neighboring officials and one Republican Maryland congressman.

According to O’Malley, more jurisdictions have offered such protections in recent years because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was “increasingly deporting thousands of people without any real public safety rationale” and using local uniformed officers to conduct dragnet searches. What’s more, he said, is that federal agents need to produce the proper paperwork before they start the conversation about deporting someone, rather than the other way around.

“This is not an unreasonable request,” he wrote, adding, “This also does not create criminal sanctuaries. In fact, in my own State, this sort of warrant based on due process is required by the State Constitution.”

O’Malley’s feelings should come as no surprise. When he was governor, he signed Maryland’s DREAM Act for Maryland’s college students into law. During his ill-fated run for president, he tried to position himself as the “pro-immigrant” candidate in a not-so-crowded Democratic field.

But if you were wondering how he feels about our new president, O’Malley used the phrase “immigrant bashing carnival barker” toward the bottom of his Medium post.

Click here to read the whole essay.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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