Maryland county ending jail immigration screening contract

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland county is ending its contract with federal officials to screen detainees in county jails for immigration status.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman made the announcement about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program Thursday. He was joined by county Police Chief Timothy Altomare and Terry Kokolis, the superintendent of the county’s detention facilities.

After a review of statistics on the program that went into effect in the county last December, Pittman says it doesn’t make the county safer.

Under the program, detention staff screen people taken into custody for allegedly committing crimes to determine their immigration status. Pittman says staffers should focus on local law enforcement responsibilities, instead of “furthering controversial immigration policy.”

Only two other Maryland counties, Frederick and Harford, have similar contracts with ICE.

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