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Future of 'sanctuary state' bill uncertain

Rachel Baye

State legislation barring local and state police from looking into residents’ immigration status faces tough odds in the Maryland Senate.

The bill would enact policies of so-called “sanctuary cities” statewide, such as whether law enforcement honors federal immigration agents’ requests to hold people without a warrant.

The bill has passed the House, but Gov. Larry Hogan has promised to veto it.

Now Senate President Mike Miller says the bill may not get out of the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. If it does, he said Wednesday, the Senate won’t pass the version the House passed, and it won’t vote to make Maryland a “sanctuary state.”

“People are now afraid to report rapes. They’re afraid to report assaults because of fear of being deported,” he said. “We need to make those people here continue to live in freedom but the same time, those people who are felons, those people who are lawbreakers need to be punished and deported.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the bill could cost Maryland federal dollars. Miller assured reporters on Wednesday that Maryland’s money is safe.

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