Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich aims to put distance between Maryland’s most populous county and federal immigration authorities by signing an executive order Monday.
Elrich said he wants to tell all county agencies that they are not allowed to ask people about their immigration status or cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“The Promoting Community Trust Executive Order aims to reaffirm current county policy and improve community security by ensuring that immigrant and otherwise vulnerable communities can engage with county departments,” Elrich’s office said in a statement.
Elrich will be joined by County Council President Nancy Navarro and other community leaders.
According to Montgomery County acting Police Chief Marcus Jones, the policy of not collaborating with ICE has already been in place.
“We have no direct contact with ICE about any immigration issues,” Jones said. “We’re not doing any operations with ICE in Montgomery County.”
Jones said if ICE seeks to deport someone who is in police custody, then ICE needs to track that person independently and deal with the situation without the police department’s assistance.
“That’s not our job to monitor that,” said Jones. “That’s forbidden against our policy.”
President Donald Trump has sparked concern among immigrant advocates with his promises of nationwide immigration sweeps designed to deport people living the United States illegally.
The sweeps, according to Trump, are meant to target people with final orders of removal, including families whose immigration cases had been fast-tracked by judges.
The number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has risen dramatically under Trump, despite his tough rhetoric and hard line policies.
Halting the flow of illegal immigration has been Trump’s signature campaign issue, but Congress has been unable to push his proposals into law due to resistance from both Democrats and Republicans.
The adult population of ICE detainees was 53,141 as of June 8, though the agency is only budgeted for 45,000. There were 1,662 in family detention, which is also at capacity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.