Local Candidates on Immigration
Calvin Ball – Democrat, Running for Howard County Executive
QUESTION: Three Maryland counties have entered into 287(g) agreements with ICE. These agreements deputize local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration agents. Do you favor or oppose this level of cooperation between Howard County and ICE?
BALL: I oppose entering into 287(g) agreements with ICE. Howard County is a place where all should feel welcome to make their best lives for themselves. As your next County Executive, I will foster an environment where all of our neighbors have what’s needed to make that happen. Our local tax dollars should be for our local services and not to be used to enforce a immigration federal policy. At a time when the President of the United States continues to divide us through his anti-immigration rhetoric and is not being fiscally responsible with our taxpayer dollars, leading to cuts of important things like education, the arts, and the environment, we should not be taking local dollars to use for immigration enforcement. We need more money for education, to grow the economy, improve our environment, and invest in our infrastructure. We should continue to use local taxpayer dollars to focus on local issues, not federal.
QUESTION: The Foreign Information and Referral Network (FIRN) offers many services to help immigrants in Howard County. Currently, FIRN is not able to meet the needs of many immigrants for lack of funding and staff. Do you favor increasing Howard County funding for this organization? Why or why not?
BALL: In Howard County, we reflect the Jim Rouse dream of being a diverse and inclusive county for all communities, including immigrants. FIRN is a great organization who empowers immigrants, refugees, and foreign-born individuals in building a life here in Maryland. Of course, I have always and will continue to strongly support organizations that help meet the needs of our foreign-born neighbors. In a place where diversity isn’t just tolerated, but celebrated, it is important that we ensure everyone who resides here is able to live their very best lives.
QUESTION: We see much in the news about the Central American gang MS-13. Is MS-13, or crime committed by immigrants more generally, a problem in Howard County?
I have supported and will continue to support laws and policies to keep our community safe, while furthering our values. All crime, including that committed by any gang, is a problem for any community. While we haven’t seen MS-13 flourish as broadly in Howard County as some other jurisdictions, we must remain vigilant.
QUESTION: A recent bill before the Howard Council would have repealed the trailer tax. It failed on a 3-2 Council vote. Do you favor or oppose this bill? What is your reasoning?
Over 1,100 neighbors in our Howard County community live in a mobile home. On average, these neighbors spend over $700 a month on rent alone. I worked with my colleague Jen Terrasa to sponsor and subsequently vote for this bill to help our community members who live in mobile homes. This tax is an unnecessary burden faced by our most vulnerable neighbors and we should be doing what we can to help others.