Kittleman says he would veto sanctuary county bill

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has said he would veto a proposal that would make the county a “sanctuary county” if passed.

In a statement, Kittleman celebrates Howard as long being known for being a “welcoming community that values diversity and inclusion of all people.”

Kittleman, citing that there are already laws in place against hate crime, said that Council Bill 9 (CB-9) would not be able to prevent immigrants from being deported, could compromise public safety efforts, and could jeopardize federal funding that the county depends on.

Howard County Council Members Calvin Ball and Jen Terrasa have sponsored the bill, which could prohibit discrimination based on citizenship status by making that information confidential in some cases. 

Hearings are scheduled for later this month.

His full statement is below:

Howard County has long been known for valuing diversity, inclusion, and civility. These have been guiding principles throughout my life and why I have championed efforts like #OneHoward and stood up against acts of hatred and bigotry. We in Howard County are a welcoming community that values diversity and inclusion of all people, which makes us a stronger community. We embrace our diverse cultural and religious beliefs throughout the year with dozens of community programs and events.
 
While we have laws in place against hate crimes, we also know that no law or policy can prevent all acts of racism or prejudice.  Council Bill 9 (CB-9), introduced by Councilmembers Calvin Ball and Jen Terrasa, is a hollow political statement that provides a false sense of security, compromises our ability to keep our community safe, and could jeopardize federal funding for critical programs and services. For these reasons, I will veto CB-9 should it pass the County Council. 
 
False Sense of Security. As many have already pointed out, CB-9 will not protect undocumented immigrants from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and cannot prevent immigrants from being deported. As the Supreme Court has held, only the federal government has authority over all immigration enforcement. The Howard County Police Department is responsible for the investigation and enforcement of criminal law, and has never been engaged in the enforcement of immigration laws.  This bill's own language states it will not supersede any federal or state law, or any existing agreement between the County and any other federal, state or local government. 
 
Compromise Public Safety Efforts. Our police department has made tremendous progress working with ICE over the last several years targeting drug activity, child pornography and human trafficking. The County was successful in its effort to locate, arrest and prosecute MS-13 gang members in large part through assistance from ICE. In addition, our recent efforts to investigate child pornography and human trafficking crimes have been successful because of cooperative agreements with ICE. A serious concern is that passage of CB-9 could compromise the County's ability to keep our community safe.
 
Loss of Federal funds. CB-9 will add language to the Howard County Code that could put us at risk of losing some critical federal funding. I am not willing to jeopardize existing programs and services which benefit all Howard County residents to adopt a label that would not change any of the policies and practices that we already have in place.
 
My administration will continue to champion and preserve our values and we encourage residents to seek paths toward legalization. Our departments and agencies, including our Police Department, will continue to treat each resident with dignity and respect.  My promise, as County Executive, is that Howard County will continue to be a welcoming, inclusive and safe community where we celebrate our diversity. 
                                    
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