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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The “Trust Act” is a betrayal of trust

| March 26, 2017, 09:33 AM

“Political Language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” George Orwell

Maryland Delegate Herb McMillan

The “Trust “Act, (House Bill 1362) perfectly exemplifies the way the left uses political language as a smokescreen to hide the full intent of their actions. The “Trust” Act was sold as a way to protect hard-working undocumented immigrants and their children, who only want a better life, from local law enforcement agencies more interested in deporting them than protecting us. While that’s a blatantly inaccurate assessment of what’s happening in Maryland, if that’s all the legislation did, there wouldn’t have been a national uproar over its passage this week. The bill goes far beyond protecting undocumented immigrants who haven’t committed criminal acts from deportation. It makes Maryland a Criminal Sanctuary State for convicted felon illegal immigrants.

The first and most basic duty entrusted to government is to protect its people, but the “Trust” Act does just the opposite. It exposes them to danger by prohibiting local law enforcement officers from executing detainers (a request to hold an individual for 48 hours) issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Detainers are issued for illegal immigrants who have been convicted of felonies like murder, rape, assault or robbery; convicted of active participation in criminal street gangs; and who are engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage. Why would anyone require law enforcement to turn a blind eye to dangerous convicted felons who have been deported and returned to the United States illegally? The “Trust” Act requires them to do just that.

Proponents of the “Trust” Act maintain that these previous felony convictions are irrelevant; that federal detainers are unnecessary, and that law enforcement can get a judicial warrant to hold an illegal immigrant who’s previously been convicted of a felony, and returned to the United States after being deported. This part of the bill is designed to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind, because while it sounds reasonable, it cannot be effectively executed. Law enforcement would have to detain a convicted felon illegal immigrant who’s returned to the United States to get a judicial warrant, and under the “Trust” Act, they can’t detain them. The end result: a convicted felon illegal immigrant who has illegally returned to the United States is permitted to slip through the hands of law enforcement, and disappear back into our communities. How trustworthy is a government that would permit that to happen?

We’ve heard a lot about “the 1%” recently; but in Maryland, the 1% aren’t the richest of the rich, they’re the dangerous, convicted, felon illegal immigrants who’ve returned to the US after being deported. The “Trust” Act protects that 1%, and puts the rest of us at risk, all in the name of political correctness. To the far left, legal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and convicted felon illegal immigrants are all cut from the same bolt of cloth and deserve equal protection and consideration. They refuse to draw a distinction between them; and that’s as foolish as it is dangerous.

Like it or not, Maryland has been a de facto sanctuary state for a long time. We give in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, and other benefits as well. But the “Trust” Act crosses the line. It’s a game changer. It’s one thing to be a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants. Their only crime is wanting to live and work here in peace. It’s quite another to be a Criminal Sanctuary State, and to put out the welcome mat for dangerous, convicted felon illegal immigrants who’ve been deported, and are returning for the second, third, fourth, and fifth time. This is where our opposition to the “Trust” Act is rooted, and on this point we refuse to yield.

The Federal immigration system has been broken for some time; and while we may not all agree on how it should be fixed, I think we can all agree that until it is, the first duty we are entrusted with as state and local leaders remains the protection of our people- citizens, legal immigrants, and undocumented immigrants alike. The “Trust” Act betrays that trust. That is why I voted against it, and that is why Governor Hogan has promised to veto it if it passes the Senate; and trust me, he’ll do just that.

Del. Herb McMillan represents Annapolis in the Maryland House of Delegates and can be reached at [email protected]

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