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Recent State Actions on Immigration

courtLately, most of the immigration-related news has been focusing on the federal government, specifically President Trump’s executive orders and immigration raids conducted by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).  However, many of the states have also been very active and involved in immigration, from joining together to fight the aforementioned executive orders (successfully) in court to issuing executive orders of their own.  Read on to learn more about the actions the states are taking in the face of the rapidly changing immigration landscape.

Washington Governor Signs Own Executive Order

Perhaps the most talked about state action this week has been coverage of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who signed his own executive order that reaffirms existing state policies that prohibit the state police from working with federal immigration agents to make arrests solely due to immigration status violations. The governor of Washington signed an executive order on Thursday, reaffirming policies that bar state police and corrections officers from making arrests purely on immigration status, a rebuke of the Trump administration.

The executive order likely came as a response to the Department of Homeland Security’s new memos that were issued this week.  These memos called upon the states to assist immigration officers with immigration enforcement efforts and also expanded the pool of foreign nationals who will be included in the Department’s deportation efforts.  The memos also call for adding 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 ICE agents.

While Governor Inslee is, as of today, the only governor to issue an official order on this topic, state leaders in New York, Connecticut, and California have also voiced that their local police departments will not be taking part in arrests or investigations made solely based on immigration status.

Anne Arundel County

On the other side of the spectrum, Anne Arundel County in Maryland recently became the third county in the state to officially join the federal government’s immigration enforcement efforts. The County Executive, Mr. Steve Schuh, applied to join an ICE program that works with and trains state law enforcement officers on immigration enforcement efforts.

However, the state seems to be divided on its feelings toward immigration.  Baltimore County has hosted protests decrying the recent deportation of two undocumented foreign nationals.  And the county’s mayor has affirmed that its local law enforcement officers will not be inquiring into its residents’ immigration statuses.  Taking immigration advocacy one step further is Howard County, where the county council has already passed legislation that designates the county as a sanctuary county.  According to reports, County Executive Allan Kittleman plans to veto this legislation.

Muddying the Maryland waters even further is the fact that some state legislators are considering passing a law that would prohibit localities from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement officials.  The bill is called the Maryland Trust Act and is widely supported in Prince George and Montgomery Counties, which both boast high immigrant populations.

In the coming weeks, it is likely that other states, such as California, Arizona, and New York, will be making headlines for their own immigration-related actions as well.  Stay tuned for the most up to date immigration news!

The Rant

Additional Blog Posts

The Possible Impact of Sequestration for Employers and Immigrant Workers, ImmigRantings, April 22, 2013
More States Expected to Exert Control Regarding Illegal Immigration Problems, ImmigRantings, August 3, 2013