Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III released the following statement in response to potential deportation raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (ICE)
“Over the past few weeks, there have been reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a comprehensive plan to locate and apprehend children and families who have fled violence in Central America and who have been issued final orders of removal from the United States by a court. My administration is very concerned about the fear and anxiety this situation is creating in many of our neighborhoods.
I understand that the Department of Homeland Security, through ICE, has the authority to enforce federal immigration laws throughout the nation. However, I believe that any proposed enforcement should be done in a manner that considers the real dangers and other challenges these families experienced in their countries before coming to the United States of America. I believe that the federal government’s response to this situation must be executed in the most humane and respectful manner possible. Today, I am asking the Department of Homeland Security to avoid conducting enforcement in places such as schools, hospitals, grocery stores, places of employment, places of worship, non-profit organizations, or county social services offices.
To help ease the tension in impacted communities throughout Prince George’s County, our school system and other county agencies have been working closely with community-based organizations as well as faith-based partners to determine ways to support the families that need assistance. In addition, we are working to increase awareness that there is pro-bono and low-cost legal support available.
I have always said that Prince George’s County’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Whether our residents come from El Salvador or France, Chile or Nigeria, our neighborhoods, cities and towns are enriched by this diverse presence. Our immigrant community is an integral part of the fabric that makes this County a very special place.”
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