Matt McDaniel

4 minute read

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Maryland’s Attorney General is proposing a course of action that, without any input from voters, and after the Legislature thought it was a bad call, could make Maryland a “sanctuary state.”

During the Legislative Session, some Democrats attempted to force through legislation that would have made Maryland a so-called “sanctuary state.” While this title has loose definitions, it essentially means that police would be prohibited from cooperating with Federal immigration officials. Let’s remember, of course, that persons who have come across America’s borders without authorization have broken the law. Of course, most reasonable folks understand that the (likely vast) majority of people who come across the border are doing so for economic reasons rather than nefarious ones. However, situations like sexual assaults and tragedies like the murder of Kate Steinle (and so many others) by an illegal alien who had already committed crimes in the United States, make the need for comprehensive border security and reform a top-priority.

Of course, rather than being concerned with the security of citizens and people in the country legally, there are a few in the leadership of the Democratic Party who see an opportunity for political aggrandizement in the midst of tragedy. While it’s important to realize that both parties often prey on sympathies for political ends, Democrats see, perhaps rightly, that there are strong anti-Administration sentiments among the far-left of the Democratic Party’s base. This type of energy and enthusiasm is something that the left hasn’t had for, at least, the better part of a decade. So, why not try to keep people engaged and energized. This isn’t some “round up” of immigrants. Rather, it is a policy that would prevent police from honoring ICE detainers for criminal aliens in Maryland prisons.

Forgetting for a moment that the wide swath of people in the United States are fine with criminal aliens being deported while, simultaneously, wanting some leniency (whether it’s a pathway to citizenship or putting those folks at the “back of the line-but actually putting them in the line”) for people here for purely economic reasons, there’s political advantage to make pretend that Donald Trump is some anti-immigrant boogeyman. Despite the fact that deportation and ICE enforcement are statistically similar to the Obama Administration, it’s now politically expedient to rush to judgment on every single case of immigration enforcement regardless of the circumstances. Sure, on the right there are people who would rather just throw everyone out, but, given that Republicans are in power and lack the political will to make that happen, means that it’s probably not a fear anyone will realize any time soon.

Democrats like Brian Frosh and Kevin Kamenetz (the Baltimore County Executive who decreed Baltimore County to be a sanctuary jurisdiction) know that the vast majority of reasonable people are against forbidding police from cooperating with immigration officials. However, Mr. Kamenetz wants to be Governor of Maryland. This isn’t a secret to anyone watching the political tea leaves in Maryland. In order to do that, he will have to make it through, what is expected to be, a crowded Democratic primary. In both parties, the primary election usually draws out a concentration of ideologues. This isn’t meant as a sleight, but, really, the people who care and believe strongly are the ones most likely to vote in a primary. So, if you’re a Democrat who wants to win in a primary, especially a crowded one, what do you do? Position yourself as the champion of the left (and use that to raise a bunch of money).

If this seems cynical, welcome to political reality.  Not only does this policy run the risk of releasing dangerous criminals, sought by Federal officials, back into the community, but it also runs the risk of Maryland and individual counties losing some or all Federal funds. This is where the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement and that of the Obama Administration part ways. Whereas Obama and his folks were fine with shipping illegal immigrants out by the truckload, there wasn’t really a penalty for counties and cities declining to follow Federal immigration law (side note- how crazy is that? Like, could a City say, “nah, people here don’t have to pay taxes and we won’t cooperate with the IRS”? Or, is it just issues where liberals are passionate?). The Trump Administration has decided, quite rationally, that, if jurisdictions choose not to follow Federal laws, they don’t get Federal aid. This decision was stayed in Court, but there’s at least a 50-50 shot that some version of that withholding of funds either makes it through the Courts or is enacted in another way.

So, what does this mean? High ranking Maryland Democrats, positioning themselves for career moves and an upcoming election, are risking both public safety and Federal funding for those in need. This was an issue that the Democrats in the legislature refused to support (because their constituents opposed it), but it’s been resurrected by fiat. Let’s hope the political points they score are worth the suffering they might cause.