February 03, 2009

stop anti-immigrant actions by Montgomery County

From Casa of Maryland and Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez : please help us stop anti-immigrant actions by Montgomery County local government. Please call or email County Executive Ike Leggett:

Dear Friends of our Immigrant Communities,

We have an EMERGENCY here in Montgomery County. Please read the ALERT below and then pick up your phone and/or write/email your OPINION directly to County Executive Ike Leggett BEFORE he makes a final decision on Tuesday, Feb 3rd!  

Montgomery County Executive I
ke Leggett is being pressured to grant Mo. Co. police new powers to detain arrested foreign-born persons indefinitely, while authorizing calls to federal immigration enforcement (ICE) for possible deportation action. This proposal has raised serious human rights as well as a civil liberty concerns which remain unanswered.  This undefined, unwritten, and ill-conceived law enforcement policy change with zero training, zero oversight, and zero accountability has  discrimination and racial profiling written all over it. If this practice is adopted, the legal and civil rights ramifications are going to be complex and hurtful.

Please express your strong OPPOSITION to this highly flawed proposal. Your help with calls, emails, and letters is urgently needed! 



Montgomery County could take a major step  down a  slippery slope to creating a discriminatory and hostile environment for all immigrants.   County Executive Isiah Leggett has indicated that as soon  as next week he may announce changes to Montgomery County’s long  standing policy against local police enforcing federal immigration laws. For years, the County’s policies have considered this the job of the U.S.federal government.   Though no written proposals have been presented for review and consideration by the County Council, the MD Judiciary, legal and immigration law experts, public safety officials, community advocates, and the general public,  Mr. Leggett is considering granting new unrestricted powers to Mo. Co. police to notify U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when  individuals who are foreign born are arrested (not yet convicted) as suspects of committing both misdemeanors and  felonies.  

Please CALL or EMAIL Mr. Leggett to let him  know you oppose this highly flawed change in policy that targets all foreign-born residents in our County.  Montgomery County is not Prince William County and we do not want the County police to take any steps towards enforcing federal immigration laws, while further alienating the immigrant communities and destroying the public’s trust in law enforcement.   
You can call Mr. Leggett at: (240) 777-2500.  
Or e-mail his office at: voicemail@montgomerycountymd.gov  or

Please cc or bcc Justiceinmontgomerycounty@gmail.com

Suggested Talking Points:

--I oppose changing current County law enforcement policies to authorize police detentions based on an individual’s place of birth

--I oppose Mo. CO. police collaboration with ICE in enforcing federal immigration laws.
--I support Montgomery County’s long standing tradition which values the contributions of our productive, diverse, and hard working immigrant communities.  
--I support policies that strengthen the public’s trust and protect individual civil liberties and human rights.  I do not want  Montgomery County to become the next Prince William County.

Below is a brief draft LETTER you can cut and paste or modify to communicate your personal opposition to this proposal.

Dear  County Executive Leggett:  

I am a concerned  Montgomery County resident and voter.  Although there is  no question that I believe that hardened criminals, especially those who  engage in violent behavior, should be tried and incarcerated when found guilty, I believe that using  place of birth and/or immigration status as a means to combat violent crime in Montgomery County  is wrong for a number of  reasons:  

          Experiences in this County (or in the country) DO NOT support the existence of a  connection between violent crimes and immigration status. On the contrary, a number of reputable studies show that immigrants, both documented and  undocumented, commit fewer crimes than U.S-born residents.  

          Recently in Montgomery County, the alleged need for targeting undocumented immigrants has been goaded by extremist, anti-immigrant  groups, such as Help Save Maryland. Other jurisdictions such as Frederick County and Prince William County, Va, have adopted anti-immigrant measures that have achieved little  more than vilifying members of those communities. Recently  committed murders in  Montgomery County are being used by such such groups to demand  similar measures in Montgomery County and to seek to validate their unfounded claim that “immigrants are violent criminals”.   

          Changing  Montgomery County law enforcement policies regarding detention of foreign-born suspects and notification of Immigrations and  Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials will affect public safety  and undermine the immigrant community's trust of the police.  Many  crimes, including recent murders, were solved through cooperation from the immigrant community, including undocumented  immigrants.  

          Law enforcement officials, the State’s attorney,  and the MD Judicial system have many effective legal tools at their disposal for dealing with  violent criminals to ensure they are detained and not freed to  commit other crimes.  

In short, I oppose  any change to Montgomery County’s long standing policies regarding its treatment of foreign born residents.   Montgomery County should not become the new Prince William County in Virginia.  This change in police enforcement policies is a step in the wrong direction,  and I strongly oppose it.

    (Please put your name  and city or area where you live in the County.)
Concerned  Montgomery County voter
Please send a copy to:  
and to
County  Council President Phil Andrews at councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov

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