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
All people have a right to be safe and to thrive in our state, regardless of immigration status or documentation. Our tradition teaches that it is our responsibility to welcome migrants. Jews have had to flee in order to save our lives and the lives of our children many times in our history, and have been seen as foreigners in the places we have called home for centuries. We understand what drives migrants to come here, and the consequences of being targeted as outsiders and feeling unsafe in our own communities. This session, we worked to end state government collaboration with ICE, prevent the use of private immigration detention centers, and protect the private data of undocumented Marylanders.
- Undocumented Marylanders, their families, and our communities as a whole, especially Latinx and Black community members.
- Senate Judicial Proceedings (JPR), Chair: Will Smith (Montgomery County)
- House Judiciary (JUD), Chair: Luke Clippinger (Baltimore City)
- House Environment and Transportation (ENT), Chair: Kumar Barve (Montgomery County)
- This legislation would have limited the cooperation of the state with efforts to enforce federal immigration laws, allowing vulnerable immigrants to report threats to their safety, use available health and social services for their families, and enroll their children in school.
- The campaign for the Maryland Trust Act began in 2014, and intensified in the 2017 legislative session. It passed in the House in 2017, but failed in the Senate, and had yet to be voted out of committee in following sessions. In the 2021 legislative session, this bill still did not pass, but we were able to get some of the protections from law enforcement that this bill stipulated into the Dignity Not Detention bill, which did pass.
- Immigrant detention is inhumane and unnecessary. In the 2021 session, we worked end Maryland’s participation in this cruel system that is killing people and tearing families apart. There were counties in Maryland with contracts to detain immigrants for ICE, and ICE is actively working to build a private detention center here.
- Dignity not Detention prohibits local jurisdictions from entering into or renewing contracts with ICE to detain immigrants (currently Frederick, Howard, and Worcester counties) and requires transparency in permitting and zoning for privately built and operated ICE facilities. This bill passed out of the full General Assembly in the 2021 session, but Governor Hogan then vetoed it. We expect to work with our partners once the General Assembly has reconvened to override the veto.
- Maryland granted drivers’ licenses to undocumented residents with assurances that their information would not be used against them. Maryland must uphold that promise. Yet the Motor Vehicle Administration’s database and records are searched by all federal law enforcement agencies, including ICE. This bill would prohibit MVA from sharing data with ICE without a judicial warrant.
- The MVA Warrant for Personal Information bill was passed by the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee in 2020, but failed to pass before that legislative session ended. It did pass out of the full General Assembly in the 2021 session, but Governor Hogan then vetoed it. We expect to work with our partners once the General Assembly has reconvened to override the veto.
- Immigrants who are being detained in Maryland deserve legal representation. 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.
- Universal Representation will ensure that all immigrants who are detained in Maryland have the right to government-appointed counsel. In the 2021 session, this bill did not get a vote in either committee and therefore did not pass.
Additional Legislative Positions:
In addition to JUFJ’s key legislative priorities this session, we took positions on other legislation related to Immigrant Rights:
- We SUPPORTED the Probation Before Judgement Bill (HB409/SB527)
- We SUPPORTED the RELIEF Act (HB612/SB496)
We also took a position on a number of Fair Funding bills, because budgets are a moral document and we must invest in programs that will address longstanding inequities and the current COVID-19 crisis.
- We SUPPORTED restoring the millionaire estate tax (HB165)
- We SUPPORTED combined reporting for corporations (HB172)
- We SUPPORTED offsetting special treatment for capital gains (HB201)
- We SUPPORTED taxing investment manager income equally through carried interest (HB215/SB288)
- We SUPPORTED enacting the throwback rule (HB229)
- We SUPPORTED eliminating the state level Opportunity Zone tax credits (HB262/SB113)
- We SUPPORTED income tax reform (HB275)
- We SUPPORTED closing the LLC loophole (HB357)