As states like Arizona and Alabama have enacted punitive immigration laws that turn police officers and school teachers into immigration officials and the Department of Homeland Security expands programs like Secure Communities that rely on local police cooperation, it is not surprising that many immigrants have developed a distrust of law enforcement. Baltimore’s new executive order, signed by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake last Friday, March 2nd, however, seeks to rebuild that trust. The new policy would promote a greater partnership between Baltimore law enforcement and the immigrant community by:
- Prohibiting law enforcement from asking individuals about their citizenship status;
- Adding ethnicity, immigration status, and the inability to speak English to the list groups covered by the city’s anti-discrimination policy;
- Requiring federal immigration agents to identify themselves and to make clear that they do not represent the city.
LIRS praises Mayor Rawlings-Blake for signing this order to create a more welcoming city for newcomers. We hope that other cities will follow in Baltimore’s footsteps!