For immediate release
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 Bolaños – 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.
At Wednesday’s press conference, immigrants that have been victims of failed Secure Communities experiment will be available for interview.