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Kamenetz: Baltimore County police will not participate in deportation of students

Baltimore County police will not participate in any efforts to identify immigrants who are college students living in the country illegally, according to Democratic County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Kevin Kamenetz

Baltimore County Executive Kevin B. Kamenetz. File Nov. 2013 (Max Franz/The Daily Record)

Kamenetz, in a letter to college and university leaders and presidents and members of the state’s congressional and U.S. Senate delegation, also called on Gov. Larry Hogan to make a similar commitment. The letter follows the election of Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who during the campaign made pledges to deport millions of immigrants he said were living in the country illegally.

“I am urging members of Maryland’s congressional delegation and our State leaders to oppose any effort by incoming President Trump to rescind the DACA program,” Kamenetz wrote in his letter.  “I have also advised Chief (Jim) Johnson that the Baltimore County Police Department should not participate in any effort to identify otherwise law-abiding students from our college campuses that would  subject them to deportation by federal authorities. This letter is also copied to Governor (Larry) Hogan seeking his support in this effort as well. ”

Spokesmen for Hogan did not return calls seeking comment.

Kamenetz, who is in his last term as county executive, is considered a likely challenger to Hogan, a first-term Republican, in the 2018 election.

Leaders of institutions within the University System of Maryland, including the University of Maryland, College Park, Baltimore and Baltimore County, and Towson University as well as Johns Hopkins University have called on the incoming Trump administration to continue and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which more than 700,000 young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children have registered with the federal government in exchange for temporary relief from the possibility of deportation and a two-year renewable work permit.

Among the more than 335 university officials who signed the petition were Robert Caret, chancellor of the University System of Maryland.

University leaders across the country also have said they would take steps to protect undocumented students from deportation under a Trump administration.

Trump said during the campaign he would halt the DACA program, but his comments on immigration since the election have focused largely on deporting immigrants who have criminal records.

“These students were children when they arrived in this country,” Kamenetz said in a statement. “They were raised here and have no identification with their native country. They should be allowed to continue with their education and pursue a path to citizenship, without police harassment.”

The text of the Kamenetz’s letter:

Dear Dr. Bowen, Dr. Caret, Dr. Hrabowski, Dr. Kurtinitis, Dr. Manning, and Dr. Schatzel,

As the County Executive of a county that is home to five colleges and universities, I strongly support your efforts to protect undocumented students from deportation in the wake of the recent presidential election. 

It is imperative that our nation’s leaders protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Obama in 2012, allowing students to pursue their education without fear.

I am urging members of Maryland’s congressional delegation and our State leaders to oppose any effort by incoming President Trump to rescind the DACA program.   I have also advised Chief Johnson that the Baltimore County Police Department should not participate in any effort to identify otherwise law-abiding students from our college campuses that would  subject them to deportation by federal authorities. This letter is also copied to Governor Hogan seeking his support in this effort as well. 

Thank you for taking all necessary steps to make your students feel safe and secure.

Very truly yours,

Baltimore County Executive

C:        Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.
Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Honorable Ben Cardin
Honorable Andy Harris
Honorable Dutch Ruppersberger
Honorable John Sarbanes
Honorable Donna Edwards
Honorable Steny Hoyer
Honorable John Delaney
Honorable Elijah Cummings
Honorable Chris Van Hollen
Honorable Mike Miller
Honorable Mike Busch


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