Preserve the Liberty Act in Howard County
and Defend Our Privacy
In 2017, Bel Air (Harford County) police stopped a woman and asked her to prove her identity not because she was acting suspiciously -- she had walked the same streets in her neighborhood many times -- but because she was Asian. She is a U.S. citizen who has lived for 30 years in the U.S. Read the Baltimore Sun story
Fortunately, Maryland enacted the Dignity Not Detention Act in 2021 that prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from asking about immigration or citizenship status during routine police work and now prevents such behavior as in Bel Air. However, the state law does not stop your daughter's teacher from asking about her citizenship status or a nurse checking your papers before taking your blood pressure. Howard County's Liberty Act was enacted to stop these actions.
In 2020, Howard County cemented its reputation as a safe and welcoming community when it enacted the Liberty Act that protects the privacy and safety of all of us by prohibiting county employees from asking about a person's citizenship or national origin and keeping citizenship information confidential.
However, some residents of Howard County mistakenly believe that the Liberty Act threatens the safety and financial wellbeing of our community. A citizens’ group formed in 2021 collected enough signatures to put the repeal of the Liberty Act on the ballot as a referendum for the November 2022 election. These residents, who often oppose big government in your private life, don't seem to mind having your daughter's teacher asking about her citizen status. Or a nurse checking your papers before taking your blood pressure. The Liberty Act ensures that government officials focus on their jobs.
Channing Memorial Church is a faith-based sponsor of the Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Justice. As such, it encourages it members, if they are so inclined, to act to preserve the Liberty Act.
Preserve the Liberty Act, Defend Our Privacy -- On Question A, VOTE FOR THE LAW on November 8.
November 8, 2022 Ballot: The referendum question on the ballot is listed as Question A: Local Referendum by Petition (CB63-2020) County Resources-Federal Immigration.
The voter choices are:
For the Law -- keeps the Liberty Act and protects the privacy and safety of all
Against the Law -- repeals the Liberty Act and threatens the safety of everyone in Howard County
Learn More, Do More
Howard County citizens voted overwhelmingly to preserve the Liberty Act (CB63-2020).
ON QUESTION A
VOTE FOR THE LAW
Breaking the Myths
Twenty-one percent (21%) of Howard County residents are immigrants. The largest group of immigrants in
Howard County are from Asian countries. Less than 1 in 10 immigrants is from Central and South America.
Documented and undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Anyone employed in Maryland pays state, federal and county taxes. According to Comptroller Peter Franchot, immigrants in Maryland paid over $100 million in taxes in 2021 alone.
Immigrants do not increase crime rates. Research in multiple states shows that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes and less likely to go to jail than people born in the US. In addition, there is no correlation between increasing numbers of immigrants in a community and increasing rates of crime. In fact, some studies show just the opposite.
“Sanctuary policies” do not harm communities. The Liberty Act has been called a sanctuary policy. Rather, it is a privacy and confidentiality law. As of March, 2021, 11 states, 40 cities, and 143 counties in the US have passed similar laws. (Center for Immigration Studies https://cis.org/Map-Sanctuary-Cities-Counties-and-States) A common feature of these laws, is limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials unless required by federal law.
Contrary to the concerns of people opposed to the Liberty Act, research in many localities shows no increase in crime in these areas compared to non-sanctuary jurisdictions. In fact, sanctuary polices correlate with reduced crime and increased employment. (https://www.americanprogress.org/article/the-effects-of-sanctuary-policies-on-crime-and-the-economy/)
Immigrants' Rights and UU Values
We respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
We promote and affirm justice, equity and compassion in human relations
We seek the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.
Learn more from the Unitarian Universalist Association
Learn more from the UU Service Committee
We recognize that documented and undocumented immigrants work, pay taxes, and contribute to our community in multiple ways. Immigrants work in many low-paying jobs that US born Americans no longer want, for example crab picking on the Eastern Shore. Immigrant labor expands our economy on the local and national level.
We see immigration as a human rights issue, supporting people who are escaping war, oppression, and poverty, just as many of our ancestors did. When immigrants feel protected, they are more likely to report crimes and otherwise
cooperate with the police, making the entire community safer.