Testimony on HB 1461 -- SAFE Act aka Sanctuary State ???SAFE-Supporting All Families Everywhere???
By Pat Fenati
HB1461 - This bill, among other things, would grant state and local government officials immunity from harm caused to residents as a result of the refusal of those officials to communicate immigration status information to federal officials. Who is the state trying to protect? Who is being protected by this bill? Criminals? Why is the General Assembly not making every effort to keep my family safe? As a member of the community, protection from criminals is what I expect from the state.
The stated intent of HB 1461 is to “maintain community trust in Maryland governmental operations and law enforcement.” If that is the case, shouldn’t the state cooperate with the Federal Laws on immigration in every way it can to make sure that someone who is in this country illegally and has committed a crime be prevented from remaining in this country and committing more crimes? There are many, many instances where criminals released back into the community repeat the crime for which they were arrested or even commit greater crimes. In the case of people who are here illegally, why would we take the chance to allow them to go back and repeat their crimes against the community.
The bill states it will be the “clearest parameters of state and local participation in federal immigration enforcement efforts.” Shouldn’t the clearest parameter be to make every effort to ensure that the laws of the Federal Government are followed?
In the Declaration of Rights in our State constitution, it says “The Constitution of the United States, and the Laws made … under the authority of the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State… and all the People of this State, are, and shall be bound thereby.” The US government clearly has jurisdiction over immigration issues.
It would seem to me that any law not complying fully with federal law would first require an amendment to those Declaration of Rights in our Constitution to declare that our state no longer has to comply with any Federal Laws with which we do not agree. … Didn’t we fight a Civil War over this?
It was said more than once in testimonies in a hearing before the Judicial Committee, that this bill will make us safer. It was stated that people here illegally are afraid to go to the police and report on criminal activity because they are afraid they will be deported. … Well … someone has to do a better job of explaining to them that there is a U-Visa they can apply for that will protect them if they report a crime. With approved U-visa status, a person will be able to stay in the U.S. lawfully for up to four years and, after three years with U-visa status, will be eligible to apply for a “green card.” Really … would a person be more likely to report MS-13 member if they knew the perpetrator might be on the streets again the next day or would at worst serve a sentence and then come back to the community … or … if they knew that in any case the gang member would be removed from the country?
If our General Assembly does not believe that laws are to be followed and that states can decide what they want to do against the Federal Government laws, then cannot counties defy the state and citizens defy the laws also? If this General Assembly does not believe that laws are to be followed, then why do the citizens of this state pay millions of dollars to have them go to Annapolis for three months a year and pass new laws?