Allan Kittleman wants no part in the collective push by Baltimore-area lawmakers to offer sanctuary to undocumented residents.
The Republican Howard County executive released a statement last night saying he’s ready to veto a bill introduced on Tuesday by Councilman Calvin Ball and Councilwoman Jennifer Terrasa that would give Howard County “sanctuary” status for the undocumented. The pair’s proposal, to be known henceforth as CB-9, seeks to prevent county police and officials from helping federal immigration agents deport residents or inquire about their citizenship status. Think of it as a legislatively encoded take on Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s November order to his police force not to assist immigration agents with deportation efforts once Donald Trump takes office.
Trump has said he plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants from the country. Officials in Baltimore, Baltimore County and now Howard County have floated proposals to stick up for their undocumented residents, particularly college students.
For his jurisdiction, Kittleman says this idea is a “hollow political statement” and is bogus for three reasons:
- “False Sense of Security” – Kittleman says CB-9 actually won’t protect anyone, since the Supreme Court has already ruled the federal government has chief authority over all immigration enforcement. “This bill’s own language states it will not supersede any federal or state law, or any existing agreement between the County and any other federal, state or local government,” he said in his statement. Basically, it won’t keep feds from coming in and carrying out any orders by the Trump administration to deport the undocumented.
- “Compromise Public Safety Efforts” – Howard County police have worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the past on drug, child porn and human trafficking cases, as well as arresting and prosecuting MS-13 gang members. Kittleman worries that a law restricting police from helping ICE agents would jeopardize that collaboration.
- “Loss of Federal funds” – A concern noted in Republican Rep. Andy Harris’ response to Kamenetz last month, a local jurisdiction stands to lose out on federal money supplied by a Republican-controlled Congress if it passes laws that go against its wishes. “I am not willing to jeopardize existing programs and services which benefit all Howard County residents to adopt a label that would not change any of the policies and practices that we already have in place,” Kittleman said.
Councilman Ball’s office hasn’t returned a request for a response to Kittleman.
The bill is likely to encounter obstacles well before it could land on the county executive desk. The Howard County Council will hold a public hearing on CB-9 on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. and will vote on it exactly one month from today.
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