Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is planning to announce an executive order Monday that will ensure no county official asks people about their immigration status.
Elrich’s office said Friday that he will sign an executive order that stops any collaboration between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and the Montgomery County Police Department.
The order also will extend beyond the police department to ensure that no official of any county agency may ask about a person’s immigration status.
In a press release, Elrich’s office said the executive order will “reaffirm current county policy” of not assisting ICE officials and ensure that “immigrant and otherwise vulnerable communities” can engage with county departments with the assurance that “such engagement will not be used to assist in civil immigration enforcement or a federal discriminatory practice.”
Maryland’s chapter of the Latino immigration advocacy organization CASA has been lobbying county officials for the past year and a half to pass this type of policy in response to President Donald Trump’s call to step up deportations, said Julio Murillo, the group’s government and strategic relations specialist. Trump has increased his focus on the issue in the past month.
“Especially now with these attacks, it gives folks some peace of mind,” Murillo said of the executive order.
About one-third of Montgomery County’s population is foreign born, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Murillo said immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. Although Montgomery County officials can’t stop ICE from conducting raids, he said they can choose not to assist immigration officials.
Even without the executive order, Montgomery County officials, including the police department, have not been asking people about immigration status.
Thomas Jordan, a spokesman with the police department, said in 25 years with the department, he doesn’t recall officers asking about residents’ immigration status.
“Our policy for years has been immigration enforcement is a federal enforcement issue. We don’t ask for people’s papers or check their IDs,” he said.
Murillo said that although county officials generally don’t ask about immigration status as a best practice, there was nothing in writing addressing the issue.
“It sends a very strong message to the county agencies that the county is not interested and will not collaborate with ICE or immigration enforcement,” he said of the executive order.
Elrich is scheduled to talk about the executive order at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the county executive office building.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org