Advocates for Immigrants Remaining Diligent, Unafraid after Latest Trump Threat

Advocates for Immigrants Remaining Diligent, Unafraid after Latest Trump Threat

President’s social media post announced plan for wholesale removal of ‘illegal aliens’

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CASA de Maryland is reminding residents to remain diligent regarding raids by federal agents.

Via Casa de maryland on facebook

President Donald Trump announced plans in a social media post this week to remove “millions of illegal aliens” and local advocates for immigrants say they aren’t fazed and county law enforcement hasn’t changed its protocols.

“They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump tweeted on Monday, stoking fears of mass raids by federal agents.

CASA de Maryland, an immigration-rights advocacy nonprofit, routinely reminds residents of their rights at weekly presentations and encourages people to be aware of potential immigration round-ups, with the understanding that the president has sounded off before.

There are an estimated 275,000 undocumented immigrants in Maryland as of 2016, according to the Pew Research Center.

“Certainly there’s some degree of fatigue around Trump tweets, but at the same time the threat to our community is real, we take this seriously,” CASA Legal Program Senior Manager Nick Katz said. “But our message is not one of fear, it’s one of empowerment. People need to organize and stand up against this.”

The organization tells citizens to not let immigration agents into their home unless they have warrant signed by a judge, as is the law, Katz said.

People are reminded they have the right to remain silent if they are picked up, and shouldn’t reveal their immigration status before speaking with a lawyer.

Katz said Trump’s rhetoric has been stale since 2016 and there have been actual negative changes in immigration policy, including anti-asylum measures, the “Muslim ban” executive order and attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“It’s been a constant stream of attacks that are sort of wrong-headed,” Katz said. “Instead of understanding the value that immigrants can bring and really trying to move forward with a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system, he’s just leaned into these assaults.”

County police officers do not enforce immigration law, a spokesman said in an email.

The county Sheriff’s Office also does not deal with immigration enforcement, but does deal with inmates who have outstanding federal detainers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The office has not changed any policies or procedures regarding ICE detainers, Capt. Maxwell Uy said in an email.

The ACLU of Maryland and CASA de Maryland complained in December about a portion of the office’s immigrant policy they believed would allow jailers to hold people for an extended period even after their release by a judge. The office adjusted the wording in the policy to ease these concerns, making it “normal processing time.”

The office is still averaging about one ICE detainer per month, as it was in January, Uy said.

Charlie Wright can be reached at

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