2016 | Politics

Ike Leggett Joins Mayors in Nationwide Call for Immigration Reform

Montgomery County executive is one of almost 60 leaders to sign open letter to the next president

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Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett

Aaron Kraut

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has joined a call for immigration reform by a coalition of mayors and local government leaders formed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Leggett and nearly 60 other officials signed an open letter to the next president released Tuesday by the Cities for Action coalition, which began in 2014. In the letter, the group urges the next president “to reject the politics of division and xenophobia and instead commit to supporting immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, in the first 100 days of the next Presidency.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, along with building a wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico and banning all Muslims from entering the country.

In the letter, the group calls on presidential candidates “to pledge to defend and expand President Obama’s executive actions on immigration to offer temporary relief to undocumented immigrants with deep community ties who are not priorities for enforcement.”

The letter refers to Obama’s 2014 executive order that could’ve prevented up to five million undocumented immigrants from being deported and would’ve extended some protections and work permits to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. It was challenged in court and in June the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the issue—preventing the order from moving forward.

“While long-term legislative reform is ultimately what is needed, the Supreme Court of the United States did not issue a definitive ruling on the merits of the executive actions on immigration, and we will continue to advocate for administrative relief,” the Cities for Action letter said.

The group filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court as it examined a lawsuit against Obama’s executive order.

Earlier this year, Leggett and the County Council announced that county police wouldn’t participate in a federal government operation to deport recent illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Langley Park, Wheaton and parts of Silver Spring are among U.S. communities with the highest percentage of immigrants from El Salvador.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg were among the other regional leaders who signed the Cities for Action letter.