Local Candidates on Immigration

Brian Frosh (D), running for State Attorney General

QUESTION: The Maryland legislature has given the Attorney General the power, independent of the Governor, to bring suits against the federal government. Is this a wise policy? Do favor this level of independence for the Attorney General?

FROSH: When the Trump Administration issued their travel ban, I asked the legislature for the authority to sue the federal government in an effort to protect the livelihood of thousands of Marylanders across our state. This power is necessary to fully protect the constitutional rights of all of our residents and our state institutions. The federal government created a policy that would harm Maryland medical institutions’ recruiting efforts, diminish tax revenue from tourism and other travel, cause irreparable harm to religious freedom and undermine Maryland’s ability to enforce its own anti-discrimination laws. The Trump Administration has demonstrated its propensity to target vulnerable communities, and this level of independent power allows states to hold the federal government accountable for its wrongdoing.

QUESTION: If elected, can you give some examples of how you might use this power?

FROSH: My office has used this power to sue the Trump administration for its most heinous policy of forced family separation. We’ve joined with seventeen other states to challenge Trump’s policy of taking children away from their parents.

Additionally, we have sued the Trump administration to stop numerous other Trump policies that hurt Maryland, including a major lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump has benefited personally from doing business with foreign governments, which would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution, and sued the Trump administration for undermining the Affordable Care Act, violating civil rights, undermining protections for clean air and clean water, and failing to protect students from predatory, for-profit schools.

QUESTION:  Many immigrants in Maryland are intimidated by the Trump administration crackdown on undocumented immigrants and, consequently, reluctant to deal with governmental authorities, especially the police, even to report crimes. What can the state can do to alleviate these fears and encourage all residents of Maryland to report crimes and cooperate with police?

FROSH: Improper profiling by police exacts a terrible cost. It discourages cooperation by law- abiding citizens, erodes community trust, and makes police work more difficult and more dangerous. I was the first Attorney General in the country to issue guidelines to law enforcement agencies prohibiting discriminatory profiling by law enforcement and made it clear that race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and religion cannot be factors in routine police activity.

We have also joined a coalition of states opposing the effort of the Department of Justice to deny asylum to victims of domestic and gang violence and have sued the Department of Homeland Security for failing to respond to a request for information about DACA and arrests and/or detentions of individuals at sensitive locations, including courthouses.

Additionally, some local law enforcement agencies have voluntarily entered an agreement with ICE to receive delegated authority for federal immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions. However, the state government is not required to support their individual decision to do so. My office has issued a set of guidelines to protect immigrant communities and hold the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) accountable when they enter the agreement:

  • LEAs face potential liability exposure if they seek to enforce federal immigration laws, particularly if they do so outside the context of a federal cooperation agreement.
  • LEAs must absorb all costs associated with federal cooperation agreements. The federal government does not provide reimbursement for these agreements, and the agreements may increase the risk of unconstitutional profiling.
  • LEAs face potential liability exposure if they honor ICE or CBP detainer requests unless the request is accompanied by a judicial warrant or supported by information providing probable cause that the subject of the detainer has committed a crime.
  • State and local officers may not be prohibited from sharing information about a detainee’s citizenship or immigration status with federal immigration officials, but they are not required to do so either.

As an overriding principle, the government bears the burden of proving that the detention of someone beyond the person’s State-law release date does not violate the Fourth Amendment and its Maryland counterpart.