Esteemed Members of the Maryland Senate Committee on Judicial Proceedings, thank you for inviting me to testify on behalf of Demos. Demos is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy organization working so that everyone has an equal say in our democracy and an equal opportunity in our economy. Our name is the root word of democracy, and it means “the people.” I am a Senior Counsel at Demos and co-author of a report published on January 13 entitled “Sanctuary, Safety and Community: Tools for Welcoming Immigrants through Local Democracy,” which I have submitted for the record today. Co-authored with LatinoJustice PRLDEF, our report details the legal support for sanctuary policies enacted by state and local governments to protect immigrant rights as well as the fundamental value of inclusive democracy, at the community level. Since we published our report, on January 25, President Trump issued a series of three anti-immigrant orders on January 25. His Executive Order on Interior Enforcement threatens that state and local police will be asked to help enforce federal civil immigration law, while also threatening to take away funding from jurisdictions that do not permit or otherwise constitutionally limit such cooperation. I believe that many provisions of that Executive Order will be unconstitutional in their application, and my annotations regarding the Executive Order are also submitted for the record of this hearing. I also want to acknowledge the tremendous assistance of my colleague Allie Boldt in researching this complex area of law. Although understanding the new administration’s anti-immigrant policies is complicated, we all must be vigilant in protecting the most vulnerable persons in our nation during this time of crisis.
The complicated, cumulative impact of the Trump administration policies—which have been promulgated in only the last several weeks—includes constitutionally infirm anti-immigrant measures, aggressive immigration enforcement in Maryland, and a series of Executive Orders that threaten thousands of Maryland residents who are immigrants. Before things become even worse, the state legislature should support the Maryland Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act (“Trust Act”) and its model of limiting state and local involvement with federal immigration law enforcement. These steps are needed to protect Maryland’s more than 911,582 foreign-born residents, who comprise over 15% of the state’s population, and to protect the safety, educational opportunities and well-being of their families and communities.
To provide you with information on the constitutional support for the Trust Act, first I will discuss constitutional authority for sanctuary laws under the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Second, I will review important due process considerations, and third, protections needed against racial profiling. Finally, I will go over equal protection and rights to freedom from discrimination in Maryland schools, and conclude with brief recommendations.