BALTIMORE, Md. - In a bid to break the silence, Baltimore City Police are calling upon members of the Hispanic community to report crimes, and their legal status will go unquestioned.
Critics suggest it’s a form of amnesty that could back fire.
"If I say I was beat up and almost killed and I want to report that. Fine,” said Cynthia Gross of Southeast Baltimore, “Don’t ask me about my immigration status, but what if Jose beat me up and killed me? You gonna let Jose, whose a bad guy, stay here. You forgot to ask him when you could have gotten Jose when you had him."
Delegate Pat McDonough agrees, and he’s prepared to arm the average citizen with the power to sue public officials who violate federal immigration laws.
"Here you have a mayor who is saying to her police force, which is supposed to protect the people, 'You're not a law enforcement agency any more, you're a lawless enforcement agency and if you're an illegal immigrant, you now have special status and protection," said McDonough.
Under his proposed bill, a citizen could file a complaint against a public official in circuit court and then a judge would determine if the case moves forward.
If convicted, that official could be ordered out of office or could face criminal charges.
"They also are saying we will not detain, deport or contact immigration officials," said McDonough.
But McDonough’s claims come in stark contrast to recent complaints from Hispanics fielded by workers at CASA de Maryland---like the two immigrants stopped by city police for a traffic violation.
“They were taken to a precinct and then one was freed, the
other was sent to ICE, and he has kids in the U.S. and the kids are
here with the mom and he's gone,” said a caseworker,
“Back to El Salvador?”
In yet another case, CASA claims a Hispanic man called police to report his van stolen, but was told his case would be turned over to immigration officials even though he was the victim.
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