Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WOW: Frederick County Makes English Official Language // Montgomery & Baltimore Join Federal Deportation Program

WTOP is reporting that last night, Frederick County voted to make English their official language:
Frederick County has become the first in Maryland to make English the official language of the government.

The vote was 4-1 on Tuesday, with the lone dissent coming from Commissioner David Gray....

A public hearing regarding the issue took nearly three hours, during which most of the 19 people who spoke were against the measure.

Among those speaking against the ordinance was Meredith Kelly, who says the first settlers of Frederick County were German.

"By various reports, English was not the area language until the Irish immigrants came in in the late 1840s. The original newspapers were published in both German and English. So, I have to look at the history of the county and wonder, what the hell is the point of this legislation? What does it benefit, because it looks like pure anti-immigrant posturing," Kelly says.

Meanwhile, CASA de Maryland reports that today is doomsday for many Latino families in Maryland. Montgomery County and Baltimore City are set to implement the so-called "Secure Communities" program that was rejected by Democratic Governors in New York, Massachusetts and Illinois. The federal program demands that local governments check and transfer information about the citizenship status of residents, even if they are not convicted of a crime. The District of Columbia also rejected the program on the day that researchers released disturbing findings about the program. A number of actual U.S. citizens were arrested under Secure Communities (oops!), and the program disproportionately targets Latinos, sometimes breaking up families over trivial issues:
The study is the first to analyze government data on the program. Among its findings:
  • 1.6 percent of those arrested were actually U.S. citizens
  • 39 percent of people arrested through Secure Communities have at least one child or spouse who is a U.S. citizen
  • 93 percent of those arrested are Latinos, even though they account for 77 percent of the entire undocumented population
See the press release from CASA below:

Public Safety Undermined as Montgomery County and Baltimore City forced to participate in Discredited Immigration Program “Secure Communities”

Despite impact on community policing, feds force Maryland’s largest immigrant jurisdiction as well as the cradle of the state’s civil rights movement to participate in nationally challenged program

WHAT:    Simultaneous Press Conferences
WHEN:    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 11:00 A.M.
WHERE:   County Executive Building, 101 Monroe St., ROCKVILLE, MD 20850
      Baltimore City Central Booking, 401 E. Madison St., BALTIMORE, MD
WHO:       Local elected officials, immigrant and civil rights, faith and labor leaders

Simultaneous press conferences in Baltimore City and Montgomery County will be held Wednesday to protest the forced implementation of the discredited “Secure Communities” program in those jurisdictions.

Last week, officials in Baltimore and Montgomery County received formal notification that ICE would be activating the failed Secure Communities program in their jurisdictions. When first launched, ICE described the program as voluntary.  As its impact undermining community/police relations became clear, jurisdictions starting pulling out of the program. ICE then announced that the program was no longer voluntary and simply represented a data transfer between two federal agencies.  Local jurisdictions cannot impact the transfer of the data between the FBI and ICE, but they can chose not to hold people for ICE pick-up, particularly in cases most likely to undermine public confidence such as accusations of minor crimes, pre-conviction, or under circumstances in which the federal government refuses to reimburse the locality’s costs.

The implementation of Secure Communities In Maryland has already proved a failure. Speakers at tomorrow’s press conference will include Maria BolaƱos – a woman trapped in the program after calling the police to report domestic violence.  In Prince George’s County, home of the dubious honor of transferring through the second highest rate in the country of non-violent and/or non-convicted persons – fear of police has reached such epidemic proportions that last Spring several robbers were arrested for conducting daytime robberies of Latino motorists while impersonating police officers.  As the program hits Maryland’s most heavily Immigrant County as well as a City that has openly pledged to attract new immigrant residents, an explosion in transfers is expected undermining work in both jurisdictions to gain the trust of immigrants.


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