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Immigration enforcement bill gets initial approval in Maryland House

Rachel Baye

Maryland’s House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill prohibiting state and local police from enforcing federal immigration law.

The bill prevents state and local police from inquiring about immigration status during a traffic stop or an unrelated arrest. It also prohibits state and local corrections officers from holding someone based on what’s known as a “detainer,” a request by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents to keep someone without a warrant while they look into his or her immigration status.

“They’re people,” said Baltimore City Del. Curt Anderson, who led a House workgroup on the bill. “And we wanted to assure them that at least the state of Maryland would not be acting as an arm of Immigration and Naturalization Service, that they don’t have to be worried about every knock on their door or any inquiries on their job.”

However, the amended bill allows Frederick and Harford counties to continue programs in which an ICE agent works locally to enforce federal law.

The legislation still needs final approval in the House to make Monday’s Crossover Day deadline. Any bills not passed by either the House or the Senate at the end of the day need the Rules Committee’s approval before continuing on.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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