Baltimore City Hispanic Commission Applauds Governor O’Malley For His Leadership In Protecting Constitutional And Immigrant Rights

Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore City Hispanic Commission thanked Governor O'Malley today for his leadership in maintaining the Constitutional rights of Baltimore residents by issuing an order directing Baltimore City Detention facilities to cease honoring requests from ICE to hold individuals for 48hours unless there is reasonable cause.

"Governor O'Malley's directive will not only serve to protect the constitutional rights of our city's immigrant population," said Elizabeth Alex, vice-chair of the commission and chair of the public safety committee, "it is in line with our values as a city that welcomes immigrants, and with recent efforts by Mayor Rawlings Blake and Commissioner Batts to foster trust and collaboration between law enforcement and immigrant residents."

In 2012, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake issued an Executive Order directing city agencies not to discriminate based on country of origin, ability to speak English, or immigration status and directing public safety agencies not to inquire about residents' immigration status. The executive order came shortly after the federal government implemented the federal Secure Communities program, which mandated data sharing between the local detention facility and ICE, despite a resolution by the Baltimore City Council and a statement from the Mayor in opposition to the program.

Since the implementation of the Secure Communities program throughout the country, there have been cases of victims who have reported crimes and have then been held on ICE detainers. This has undermined the community's trust in law enforcement and discouraged people from reporting crimes. Since the program's implementation in 2012, in Baltimore 248 people have been deported after being detained on civil immigration detainers.

Federal courts have ruled that ICE detainers are non-mandatory requests, not orders, and local detention facilities are not required to honor them. Baltimore City joins a growing number of cities and counties – including 22 in Iowa recently -- that have decided against holding people at the request of ICE simply because they are suspected of not having proper immigration authorization.

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