“That would be such a mistake,” he said of the bill. “I would plead with the people of Maryland to understand that this makes the state of Maryland more at risk for violence and crime, that it’s not good policy.”
Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), who is a co-sponsor of the legislation and defended it during floor debates, said the measure does not prevent corrections officers or local law enforcement from cooperating with federal agents when undocumented immigrants have committed serious crimes.
“Before criticizing proposed legislation, I suggest that Attorney General Sessions take time to actually read the bill,” she said. “The Trust Act certainly does not make Maryland more at risk for crime and violence. Anyone who commits a crime or violence in Maryland should be and is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, regardless of immigration status.”
The Trust Act is similar in many respects to uncodified policies for handling illegal immigrants in place in Montgomery County and other Maryland suburbs.”
Sessions’s attempt to link the rape with the proposed Trust Act is totally bogus. Most obviously, the Trust Act is not in force, and might never be, so it could not have had any effect on the rape case.
But, more significantly, neither of the alleged perpetrators had any prior criminal record and neither had ever been in the custody of the State of Maryland. Needless to say, the DHS had therefore never lodged a detainer with the State, nor had the State declined to cooperate with the DHS in any way.
Moreover, even if the Trust Act were in effect, and the suspects were convicted, Maryland would honor a DHS detainer upon their release from incarceration with the filing of a Warrant of Arrest, which could easily be obtained in such a case.
Under the known circumstances, no legal action by the State of Maryland or by the DHS, for that matter, would have prevented this horrible incident. Even with the “Trump priorities” and the Administration’s expanded concept of “criminal alien” in effect, neither of the suspects, who apparently had no prior criminal involvement anywhere in the world, would have been candidates for expedited hearings. Moreover, given their family ties in Maryland and their lack of a criminal record, they probably would have been properly released on bond had the DHS tried to detain them prior to their arrest for the rape.
This situation is certainly tragic for the victim and for the school community. But, it has nothing to do with the “Maryland Trust Act.”
Ironically, prior to Sessions’s statement, the Washington Post ran an editorial pointing out that the Trust Act was actually a reasonable compromise between the needs of Federal immigration and state law enforcement authorities:
“Mr. Hogan is exercised that the bill would prohibit most localities from holding undocumented immigrants in jail for 48 hours after their scheduled release date at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so they can be transferred directly to federal custody. But nothing in the amended legislation would bar those localities from informing ICE of release dates so that federal officials could detain inmates when they walk out of jail.
Similarly, the bill requires localities to comply with any warrant to hold undocumented immigrants issued by federal courts on the basis of probable cause. Such a warrant would be easily obtainable by ICE in the case of prisoners who pose a danger to public safety or national security. Despite Mr. Hogan’s assertions, nothing in the bill blocks local officials from sharing information with federal authorities about an undocumented immigrant’s criminal record or responding to subpoenas. And jurisdictions that have decided to cooperate even more closely with the feds, including Frederick, Harford and Anne Arundel counties, could continue doing so.
The bill strikes a symbolic blow against the Trump administration by pledging the state’s refusal to help compile a Muslim registry, as Donald Trump, as a candidate, said he might do. But such a registry would face enormous legal obstacles before it ever become federal law. The bill prohibits local police from asking people on the street randomly about their immigration status, which is largely barred in the state anyway.
If adopted by the state Senate, the bill would represent that increasingly rare legislative thing: a compromise.”