Bills Affecting Immigrants in MD General Assembly 2018
2018 Maryland SAFE Act (HB1461 )
The Supporting All Families Everywhere (SAFE) Act would clarify the parameters of state and local law enforcement cooperation with federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts. The bill would take proven community policing policies and codify them in law. It would allow the federal government to do its constitutionally mandated job of enforcing immigration law, while local police focus on protecting Maryland residents. It would also encourage immigrants to cooperate with local police in reporting crimes without fear of being reported to immigration authorities. Hearing: March 13, House Judiciary Committee.
MD DREAM Act: (SB546, HB1536)
In 2012, Maryland voters passed the MD DREAM Act referendum providing for an in-state tuition discount for undocumented students. This bill would ensure that students who graduate from high school and pay their taxes in our state will be able to continue access to public universities and colleges at the in-state tuition rate – regardless of the outcome of the debate over DACA in Washington. Hearing: March 8, House Ways and Means Committee.
MVA Confidentiality Act: (HB1626)
In Maryland, individuals without legal immigration status can obtain drivers’ licenses. However, ICE sometimes requests info like addresses from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to aid in detaining immigrants. This bill would prevent ICE from accessing MVA information without a judicial warrant or subpoena. Hearing: March 8, House Ways and Means Committee
Regulation of Farm Labor Contractors & Foreign Labor Contractors: (SB526, HB1493)
This bill would protect migrant workers and foreign workers, particularly those with HB2 and J1 visas, from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous recruiters and abusive labor contractors and traffickers. (Sometimes, workers are afraid to complain about conditions because of fear of losing their visas. This bill is designed to prevent such fear.) The bill will apply not only to agricultural workers but also to workers in other industries. Hearings: Feb. 20, Senate Finance Committee; House Economic Matters.
Criminal Procedure: U Non-Immigrant Status and Enforcement: (SB581)
This bill is intended to remove fear of the police in immigrant communities. It would allow victims or witnesses of crimes who are working with local police to obtain U Non-Immigrant status that allows the person to stay in the U.S. for two years. It would apply to undocumented as well as other immigrants. This status may be renewed and other types of immigrant status may be applied for after the two-year period. Hearing: held Feb. 14 in Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.