IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

Maryland State

When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. The sojourners who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

— Leviticus 19:33-34

The insistence that we behave with care, equity, and love toward the stranger appears 36 times in Torah; it is the most-repeated command in the entire Torah. Our sacred texts insist that we turn our own historical experiences of being outsiders in many foreign lands into compassion for those experiencing the same today. As Jews and as human beings, we are obligated to make sure that those of us who were not born in our community are as safe as those of us who were.

But many Maryland immigrants are not safe. Hundreds of our neighbors are separated from their families and incarcerated for civil immigration violations, with no access to a lawyer to advocate on their behalf. On top of that injustice, immigrant Marylanders who trusted the promise our state government made to protect their private information from federal immigration officials have had that trust violated. We must pass legislation so that nobody, regardless of immigration status, has to fear deportation or family separation when they seek to participate fully in our society.

Who’s Impacted:

  • Undocumented Marylanders, their families, and our communities as a whole, especially Black and brown community members.

Key Committees:

  • Senate Judicial Proceedings (JPR), Chair: Will Smith (Montgomery County)
  • House Judiciary (JUD), Chair: Luke Clippinger (Baltimore City)

Legislative Details:

  • Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings (SB129/HB114)
    • Everyone deserves legal representation, whether they face deportation, eviction, or criminal penalties. To deny legal counsel is to deny due process.
    • The devastating consequences of being without legal counsel are heightened during a pandemic, which poses an extreme threat to detained immigrants in close and often inhumane conditions.
    • This legislation will ensure that all Maryland immigrants who are detained by ICE have access to government-appointed counsel. A similar bill was introduced last session, but did not pass either chamber. Senators Shelly Hettleman and Jeff Waldstreicher, and Delegate Nicole Williams, are the sponsors.

Override the Veto on Dignity not Detention (HB16 – MDGA21)

In the December 2021 Special Session, the General Assembly voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of HB16, which will prohibit local jurisdictions from entering into or renewing contracts with ICE to hold immigrants in detention and will require transparency in permitting and zoning for privately built and operated ICE facilities. This is now law. Thank you to our partners in the MD-AID coalition, led by CASA, as well as ACLU, Congregation Action Network, and Do the Most Good.

Override the Veto on the Driver Privacy Act (HB23 – MDGA21)

In the December 2021 Special Session, the General Assembly voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of HB23, which will prohibit the MVA, the state police, the Department of Public Safety, and correctional services from sharing data with any federal agency without a judicial warrant. This is now law. Thank you to our partners in the MD-AID coalition, led by CASA, as well as ACLU, Congregation Action Network, and Do the Most Good.

Key Partners: Maryland Against ICE Detention (MD-AID), including: CASA, ACLU-Maryland, Congregation Action Network, Do the Most Good.

Additional Legislative Positions:

In addition to JUFJ’s key legislative priorities this session, we support and will provide testimony on the following bill:

  • Probation, Not Deportation (SB265) – This bill would provide equal access to justice for immigrant Marylanders by eliminating unintended immigration consequences from minor contacts with Maryland’s criminal justice system.

We oppose the following bill:

  • SB404 – This bill excludes immigrant Marylanders from tax relief.

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