In a time when enforcement programs like Secure Communities are splitting apart families, and anti-immigrant legislation — like HB 56 and SB 1070 — are assisting in the GOP strategy of “self-deportation”, Baltimore City’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is heeding fair warnings and going down a different path. On Friday, she stood up for immigrants in her own state by signing an executive order that would “protect new Americans from discrimination.”
“Throughout Baltimore’s great history, we have strived to be a place that welcomes foreign-born residents to participate fully in civic life, recognizing that our city’s ethnic and cultural diversity is a key element to strong and growing neighborhoods,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “This new Executive Order clarifies existing anti-discrimination policies and local law enforcement practices in Baltimore and makes clear that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Most importantly, this Executive Order will make clear that all victims and witnesses of crime in Baltimore, regardless of immigration status, must be treated with human dignity and respect.”
The announcement comes just a few days after ICE divulged that it would begin implementing the Secure Communities enforcement program in Baltimore. The program has failed to operate as intended. The point of the Secure Communities Program was to arrest and deport serious criminals, thereby creating a more “secure” community. Instead, the program targets those who have either committed no crime, or have committed a low level offense — like traffic violations — a whopping 56% of the time…perhaps in part to help DHS reach their yearly deportation quota of 400,000 undocumented immigrants.
The Executive Order issued by the mayor in part reads:
The City of Baltimore has consistently sought to protect the rights of all of Baltimore’s residents to be free from discrimination, abuse, violence, and exploitation, as shown through its dedication to protective victims of crime.
We commend Mayor Rawlings-Blake on her decision to protect residents of Baltimore — immigrant and non-immigrant alike. Click here to read the executive order, entitled “Advancing Public Safety and Access to Public Services” in full.