It is terrible that Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed HB016, the Dignity Not Detention Act, and our State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza voted against it this past session.
What is even worse is their current cowardice effort to dehumanize our immigrant communities on the Shore and across the state by spreading divisive lies about the bill to spread fear and hate in our community in hopes it will bring them political gains.
Here are the facts. The Dignity Not Detention Act sponsored by Delegate Vaughn Stewart and Senator William C. Smith Jr. doesn’t turn Maryland into a “Sanctuary State,” nor does it “allow criminals to roam Maryland and threaten public safety.”
The legislation protects our immigrant communities from the aggressive and often illegal federal policies conducted by ICE by banning local prison contracts with federal immigration agencies.
This legislation stops places like Worcester County from profiting off of human suffering and supporting the policies of ICE that are often unconstitutional and violate numerous human rights. Human Rights violations that include separating child from their parents, locking kids in cages, and unwanted invasive medical procedures like complete hysterectomy leaving immigrant women unable to have children.
It is shameful that our governor and state senator (who claim to be “Pro-life” and want small government) are using racist dog whistles to justify continued compliance with a government entity with a history of overreach, ignoring our Constitution, and human rights violations.
An entity that only exists because it was created during the high of post 9/11 fears on the false pretense that “immigrants were a national security threat.”
Our immigrant communities here on the Shore and across the state are full of working people just trying to make a living and live their lives. They are massive contributors to the betterment of our society and are just as much a Marylander as you or I.
In the 2022 midterm election, we deserve better than this from our next governor and state senator. The Lower Eastern Shore is the most impoverished region in the state.
We need leaders who will focus on bringing opportunities and improving the economy of this region, not cowards who looked for scapegoats to cover up their failures and hid their weaknesses. It is easy as a political leader to target immigrants or other underrepresented communities.
It takes strength and vision to lead our region out of poverty. Strength and vision we currently don’t have. I look forward to working towards quickly overriding this veto next session and continuing the work to prepare for the 2022 state election.
Chair, Lower Shore