The DC Examiner reports that the two opposing sides of the immigration ordinance enforcement issue in Maryland are squaring off. The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking information about immigration related ordinances in 23 different counties in Maryland. They want information about every publicly enacted ordinance or internal policy that directs police, social services agencies, real estate agents, landlords and local employers to classify or treat people differently due to immigration status. So far, ears are perking up over ordinances in Anne Arundel County, Frederick County and Gaithersburg.
Meanwhile, Help Save Maryland founder and president, Brad Botwin tracks every move the ACLU makes and has filed a “piggyback” request to be copied on all information given to the ACLU. The ACLU suggests that many of the ordinances are racial profiling. Botwin doesn’t see it that way.
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold forbids contractors to hire illegal immigrants to work on county projects, and police in Frederick County have been trained to enforce federal immigration laws. In Gaithersburg, City Council members passed an anti-solicitation ordinance two years ago that made looking for work or workers along city streets a misdemeanor, a move some complained targeted immigrant day laborers. Last spring, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler said the rule ran afoul of the First Amendment and Maryland’s vehicle laws and city leaders began exploring other options.
ACLU attorney Ajmel Quereshi has stopped short of saying the ACLU will sue the various counties over their immigration ordinances. However, the possibility does loom over any ordinances or resolutions that exist in Maryland. It sounds like the ground work is being laid for potential costly lawsuits.
Is Prince William out of the woods on potential lawsuits? Is our Immigration Resolution too toothless to appear on the ACLU radar screen? Has it all ended for Prince William County because of the exceedingly awful economy and real estate market? Has the huge story of 2007 about the nation’s leader, Prince William County ended, not with a bang but a whimper? Any bang heard seems to be another foreclosure door closing and our tax base dropping even more.