At a time when Federal stalemate and local hostility prevents us from giving practical help to the 11 million souls in our midst without a country, I am proud to live and practice law in a state led by a governor who practices what his faith preaches.
Governor Martin O’Malley took a strong stand on behalf of the undocumented when he advocated and signed into law in Maryland a bill guaranteeing in-state tuition for undocumented students. Now he has come forward again, and announced an end to the use of the ironically-named “Secure Communities” program at the Baltimore City Jail.
If I were to criticize Governor O’Malley at all in this context, it would be for taking so long to take this step in the first instance. This program is anything but secure for communities. It separates children from their parents, forcing state and local governments to step in and spend time and resources doing the parents’ work at the expense of other families. It has led to the deportation of individuals who offer no threat to our national interest at all, and who have violated little more than traffic laws. Even worse, it has led to the under-reporting of far more serious, even violent, crimes, from fear of being accidentally caught in a deportation system whose own resources are so overwhelmed that it can no longer adequately discriminate between those who deserve mercy and those who do not.
But, rather than focus on criticism, it is more appropriate, especially at this time of year, to focus on praise. As Christians celebrate Easter, and Jews observe Passover, it’s worth noting that both faiths support the struggle for freedom, and the good to be found in sheltering those among us who are strangers and sojourners. In ending the “Secure Communities” program in Baltimore, Governor O’Malley has honored his faith as a Catholic, and upheld his belief in America as a promised land for everyone.
Written by Cynthia Rosenberg, Chair, AILA D.C. Chapter