The Maryland Green Party Coordinating Council has endorsed the Maryland Trust Act (HB1362/ SB835). This is a very significant piece of legislation that will impact the lives of many Marylanders in crucially important ways.
The Trust Act makes Maryland a “sanctuary state,” and it specifies what this means in clear, specific terms. As written, the Trust Act would:
- Prohibit all Maryland “government agents” (including all state and local law enforcement, school system employees, DJS workers and correctional system workers) from making inquiries about a person's immigration status, or from enforcing or even assisting federal authorities with enforcing immigration law.
- Prohibit Maryland law enforcement from responding to federal authorities on requests to detain, hold or transfer individuals based on immigration status violations, or from granting federal authorities access to such individuals.
- Prohibit Maryland government agents from allowing federal authorities to use its databases for immigration enforcement.
- Prohibit Maryland government agents from assisting with any federal program that requires a registry based on religion, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender.
The purpose of the Trust Act is simple. It allows undocumented immigrants to engage with Maryland government (including law enforcement) without the threat of deportation. Furthermore, the Trust Act allows local police to do their jobs without having to be tied down by immigration enforcement.
In the current climate, the Trump administration has ramped up its enforcement of immigration law and has created much fear in immigrant communities. The Obama administration set a high bar, deporting a record 2 million people in 8 years. Trump is looking to beat Obama's numbers, and has increased the rate of deportation. Furthermore, the Trump administration is casting a wider net, increasing the categories of people who it targets for deportation. We can expect Trump to try to enlist local police in immigration enforcement and deportation. In the current environment, you could be pulled over for a routine traffic stop, and when your name is cross-referenced with the Department of Homeland Security database, they could issue a detainer request based on a deportation order. So, one of your headlights is out, and you get deported back to Central America (while your kids stay here and suffer).
The Green Party stands in direct contradiction to the Trump and Obama administrations on immigration enforcement. In its national platform, the Green Party calls for “social justice for all those living in this country, regardless of immigration status.” Furthermore, the Green Party's platform states:
“The undocumented immigrants who are already residing and working in the United States, and their families, should be granted a legal status which includes the chance to become U.S. citizens. Persons should be excluded from this process only if they present a clear and present danger to other members of our society.”
As Green Party members, we recognize the worth and value of people, even if they may lack official documents. We understand that assigning “illegal” status to a class of hard-working Americans and having them live in fear is immoral, and it's bad policy.
We recognize the deep benefit of immigration. Immigrants work, pay taxes, start businesses and enrich our society. We need to change laws and allow for more legal immigration, and allow people to come out of the shadows. Workers should have the right to go freely where the jobs are offered. Furthermore, we demand trade policies that benefit workers, farmers and peasants, rather than policies that create conditions that push people to make a dangerous, “illegal” journey across a border.
The Trust Act is valuable in that it stands in direct opposition to the anti-immigrant Trump climate. It also provides tangible benefits that will save lives and impact our state positively. As currently written, the legislation is strong. The only problem in the current language is that it would not take effect until October 1st of this year. We need this law NOW!
A Call to Action:
We, Greens, should push to make sure the Trust Act stays strong, and passes with a veto-proof majority.
- Call and contact your state legislators, and make sure they are on board with the Trust Act.
- Baltimore City residents, particularly district 43 constituents, should call Delegate Curt Anderson, the head of the working group on the Trust Act. Urge Curt Anderson to maintain a STRONG bill (do not weaken it!). (410) 841-3291.
- Likewise, Baltimore County Greens should contact Senator Bobby Zirkin and urge him to keep the Trust Act STRONG. (410) 841-3291.
Furthermore, it is recommended that more Maryland Greens join networks that support immigrants during this difficult time:
- Join CASA MD's active bystander network, sanctuary network or rapid response team. Follow CASA on social media at @somos_CASA. Contact Katie Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you have friends, neighbors or colleagues who are undocumented, check in on them. Your moral support goes a long way.
- Be on the lookout for demonstrations, rallies, direct actions and events that support immigrants.
Your support is needed. Join us as we show Maryland and beyond where the Green Party stands on immigration!.