Support these important immigration bills

DTMG is supporting three bills promoting immigration justice that have been introduced in the Maryland Legislature. 

We’ve had some partial successes, which you can read below, but there is still more to be done. We are emphasizing the first bill, the “Trust Act” because it is still bottled up in committees. Please contact your Maryland State Delegates and Senator now. Scroll down for information on how to reach your legislator and tips on what to say.

Correctional Facilities and Police Officers – Procedures – Immigration Status (Trust Act) (HB0913 and SB0817) This bill would increase community safety by reducing barriers to cooperation with law enforcement. It codifies informal practices in place in many jurisdictions by preventing law enforcement from:

  • Inquiring about a person’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth during routine police functions;
  • Holding a person beyond their release date solely on the basis of an immigration detainer; or
  • Detaining anyone solely for the purpose of investigating a suspected immigration violation or because of an administrative immigration warrant.

Status:  

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 913 March 5 and the Semate Judiciary Proceedings Committee held a hearing on SB 817 February 21. Neither committee has issued a report.

Please contact your Senator and Delegates, especially if they are members of these committees, and ask them to support this important legislation.

View DTMG Testimony Here.

Talking Points:

  • This bill will help restore community trust in law enforcement and thereby enhance public safety.
  • Maryland’s taxpayer dollars and resources should not be used in service of the Federal government; they are needed for our own community safety needs.
  • The bill declares that Maryland will not contribute to the targeting of immigrants by drawing a bright line between state or local law enforcement officials and federal immigration enforcement agents.
  • The bill is in accordance with Supreme Court and Circuit Court rulings that officers do not have the independent authority to arrest based solely on a civil immigration violation.

The following two bills have had favorable votes in one chamber, but we need to keep pushing for approval by the full legislature.

Victims and Witnesses – U Nonimmigrant Status – Certification of Victim Helpfulness – (HB0214 and SB0144)  This bill would help provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who report and help solve crimes, including domestic violence, and help our undocumented residents feel safe to report crimes in our community. Currently, undocumented residents are fearful of reporting crimes, including domestic violence crimes.  If enacted, certificates would be issued to certain persons who assist with criminal investigations that would allow them to apply for a U-Visa.

Status:

Success! Both the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee gave favorable reviews (with amendments), and the full House approved the bill. It has not yet come to the floor of the Senate. So please contact your Senator! You might want to thank your delegates, too.

Talking Points:

  • This bill will make our communities safer by removing a barrier to cooperation with law enforcement in the immigrant community.
  • Law enforcement needs the cooperation of all our community members to do their job.

Higher Education – Tuition Rates – Exemptions (Dream Act) (HB0262 and SB0537) This bill strengthens the Maryland Dream law, a law that provides tuition equity for undocumented students in Maryland. It removes strict requirements for in-state tuition and provides protections to students under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). It allows Maryland Dreamers to receive resident tuition at a 4 – year university without having to attend and receive 60 credits from a local community college.

Status:

Another Immigration legislation success story! The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee reviewed this bill favorably and it was approved in a floor vote March 13. The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing March 19 at 1:00 p.m. Please contact your Delegates, especially if they are members of the Appropriations Committee.

Talking Points:

  • Education is an investment in our students and these changes will invest and strengthen our immigrant student population.
  • In 2012, 59% of Marylanders agreed via a voter referendum, and support has significantly increased.
  • By eliminating arequirement that students attend community college in the county where they graduated from high school, Maryland Dreamers who have moved since graduating will not be faced with long commutes.

What You Need To Know To Have An Impact

Understand the Legislative Process – Bills are introduced in pairs with one version (and number) for each chamber. When initially introduced to the House or Senate (first reading) they are assigned to one or more committees. The committees gather information, hold hearings, and make a recommendation (favorable, favorable with amendment(s), or unfavorable) before they are presented for a “floor” vote by the entire chamber.

Each of these Immigration Bills was referred to two of the following committees:

Take Action: Please call or write your senator or delegates, and if they are on one of these committees, be extra sure to contact them. You might also contact a committee chair, even if you are not in their district. If you can add something about why these bills are important to you, please do so. But remember, even a brief phone call is far superior to NO phone call!

FIND YOUR DELEGATES AND SENATOR HERE.

Here is a script you might want to use. It’s a phone script, but you can tailor it for emails by taking out the support questions and simply asking the Delegate/Senator for their support.

Hi, My name is _____________.  I am a member of DoTheMostGood MoCo and a constituent of (Delegate/Senator _______ ).  I live at ______________________.

I would like the Delegate/Senator to support HB0000/SB0000, [name of bill] addresses [intent or 1 sentence summary of the bill]

This bill is important to me because [your personal statement]

Will Delegate/Senator ___________ support this bill? [Yes/No/Undecided response.]

  • [Yes response]: Please thank Delegate/Senator __________ for [his][her] support.
  • [No response]: Please letDelegate/Senator __________ know that I support this bill.
  • [Undecided response]: I hopeDelegate/Senator __________ will seriously consider this bill and give it [his][her]support.

Thank you for your time.

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