On Monday, March 22nd, the House of Delegates passed House Bill 23, which would prohibit state and local government agencies from providing records or data to ICE for the purpose of civil immigration enforcement. 

Two weeks ago, the House passed the Dignity Not Detention Act from Del. Vaughn Stewart (D-Montgomery), which would effectively end ICE contracts at three county jails in the state, and jurisdictions would be prohibited from entering into contracts with the federal agency and private prison companies down the line.

However, the Trust Act (SB 88 / HB 304) has yet to be voted on in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, where it has been on a voting list for several days now. As this bill will not move before crossover, we are ramping up our pressure on Senator Ferguson to move the bill forward in the Senate, so we can get it through RULES and move it through the House. 

Advocates and tens of thousands of immigrant families have been fighting for a statewide trust policy to keep law enforcement from partnering with ICE for over a decade. In this challenging moment for all Marylanders, immigrant families are enormously impacted by the pandemic and suffering tremendously. The racist and unlawful targeting of immigrant families by law enforcement now has higher stakes than ever before.

Communities nationwide have passed and implemented various community trust policies – several of them right here in Maryland, including Baltimore City. To date, thirteen municipalities and five counties in Maryland have passed community trust policies. As the national movement to make our communities safer through these policies grows, and the support across Maryland grows – we believe there is no greater time for the General Assembly to pass this critical bill. In addition to this bill being a long-standing priority of the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus, it has gained the support of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus and Maryland Legislative Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus.

Support has also grown across our community. This bill is a top priority of the leading Catholic and other faith advocacy organizations in Annapolis, and is strongly supported by the leading civil rights organizations and unions. More than one hundred individuals and organizations testified in favor at the committee hearing, with the majority of opposition coming from recognized hate groups. Data shows that community trust policies result in less poverty and less unemployment – but also, an increase in public safety.

We have fought for the Trust Act for nearly a decade and will not allow the legislature to go another session without passing this bill to protect the lives and livelihoods of immigrant families. We need your support!

Keep applying URGENT friendly public pressure by tweeting or posting at Chairman Smith (@Willcsmithjr) and Senator Ferguson (@SenBillFerg) telling them how meaningful it is to see the Trust Act on a voting list – and how excited you are to see it pass.

We are still missing commitments from Katie Hester (District 9), Pam Beidle (District 32), and Katherine Klausmeier (District 8) – if you are their constituent, please continue to reach out to them ASAP! 

Constituents of Senator Hester and Senator Beidle are banding together to write a letter urging their support. If you are a resident of District 9, please sign on by emailing lliskin49@gmail.com. If you are a resident of District 32, please sign on by filling out this form.

Our next Justice & Peace Committee Meeting is Thursday, April 8th at 6 PM on Zoom. For more information, email Emily at ejbruce02@gmail.com.