After the January edition of the Pasadena Voice went to print, the Anne Arundel County Council debated Councilman Nathan Volke’s resolutions to reinstate the 287(g) immigrant screening program and not to use funds provided by the federal government for the legal representation of detainees in civil proceedings instituted by the Department of Homeland Security.
County Executive Steuart Pittman suspended the program after a press conference on December 27, and although he said he had no plans to reinstate 287(g), he held two town hall meetings in January to solicit input from the community.
During the January 7 county council meeting, several Anne Arundel County residents spoke in general terms about immigration (they were asked to withhold testimony specific to the resolution until the January 22 meeting). Much of the testimony came from the following Pasadena residents.
Debbie Jasen referred to the program’s “fear tactics.”
“I am opposed to any program that encourages the use of racial profiling and racial discrimination,” she said. “I am opposed to any program that makes our county less safe by making anyone, including immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, feel that they or others in their community may be deported if they come forward to talk to the police about crimes in their neighborhoods.”
Corine Frank said we are all descendants of immigrants, but that doesn’t mean the county should “suspend the processes of good government.”
“Most recently, this new administration has chosen political agenda over good government. This administration has declared that taxpayer money will be used to fund legal representation for illegal immigrants.”
David Zwald of the North County Republican Club opined that 287(g) is a “tremendous benefit to public safety,” allowing local officials to partner with federal officers in identifying “criminal aliens.”
A first-generation American, Harry Freeman detailed how he was born to Mexican parents and adopted by a man in Miami. There, he saw other first-generation Americans blossom into successful people.
“We have grown up to be very successful people and stewards to our community,” Freeman said. “We carry the torch for our future. I have a son, and this county is where I chose to call home, not him. And I want to make sure that the home that he inherits is one that we can all be proud of.”