Baltimore County To Vote On A Bill That Would Require Jail To Join Federal Immigration Screening Program

The Baltimore County Council will vote on a proposed bill that would require the screening of county jail inmates for potential immigration violations on Monday night.

The bill is co-sponsored by the three council Republicans and will likely fail, as the other four members that make up the seven-member council are Democrats. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he would veto the bill if it did pass and to override that veto, five votes would be required.

The bill, regardless of its low favorable outcome has influenced an intense discussion in Baltimore County. Last week, residents testified on both sides of the aisle, while groups of opponents and supporters offered petitions that included hundreds of signatures.

The county jail would be required to join a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement program 287(g). In the federal program, the government trains correctional officers to perform specific immigration enforcement actions.

Harford and Frederick counties previously passed similar bills and are already participating in the federal program. Anne Arundel County has also applied to join the program.

In the program, correctional officers will request information such as place of birth and citizenship from people during the booking process. Depending on the answers to those questions, further investigation into the person’s immigration status may be required.

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