MARYLAND – 32BJ members thanked Governor O’Malley today for his leadership on maintaining the Constitutional rights of Maryland residents. Baltimore City now joins dozens of counties nationwide that have decided that they will no longer honor ICE requests to hold individuals for 48 hours unless there is reasonable cause.
“We are grateful to Governor O’Malley for his clear-sighted leadership on this issue of due process and justice for Maryland residents,” said Jaime Contreras, 32BJ Capital Area Director and Vice President. “ICE detainers have resulted in the illegal imprisonment of too many people – including U.S. citizens and especially Latinos – often without any charges pending, sometimes for days after they should have been released from custody.”
“In addition to complying with U.S. law, the Governor’s decision will help keep families together, uphold basic principles of fairness, and restore public trust between local police and the immigrant community,” Contreras added.
In some cases, victims who reported crimes have been held on ICE detainers, which has undermined the community’s trust in law enforcement and discouraged people from reporting crimes.
Federal courts have ruled that ICE detainers are non-mandatory requests, not orders, and local law enforcement is not required to honor them. Maryland Attorney State General Douglas Gansler also recently concluded that the receipt of an ICE detainer does not mandate or authorize the continued detention of an individual and that it is possible that local officials could be held liable if there is not probable cause for keeping a person in jail.
Baltimore County joins a growing number of counties – including 22 in Iowa recently — that have decided against holding people at the request of ICE simply because they are suspected of not having proper immigration authorization.
With 145,000 members in 11 states and the District of Columbia, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country