The Maryland Catholic Conference will again support legislation that seeks to protect immigrants and their families by building trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.
Several bills that address the interactions between immigrants and law enforcement have been introduced during the 2020 session, and the Conference will support the bills that uphold the inherent dignity of every person and oppose those that seek to tear families apart.
"Immigration is largely a federal issue, and a very difficult one, but there are areas where our state can take action," said Anne Wallerstedt, associate director of social and economic justice for he Maryland Catholic Conference. "We as a Conference, support legislation that upholds the inherent human dignity of each person and are guided by the words of Pope Francis who said that: '[I]f we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us give opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.'"
The Catholic Church has historically held a strong interest in immigration and how public policy affects immigrants seeking a new life in the United States. A person and their family shouldn’t have to live in fear from the very entities who are tasked with keeping every person safe and healthy and helping our communities thrive. Unfortunately, when local and state law enforcement are requested to take part in immigration enforcement, it causes an erosion of their critical relationship with immigrant communities. When immigrant communities do not feel comfortable interacting with police — even to report crimes — then whole communities are less safe as crimes go unreported and/or unsolved. The Conference supports bills that balance the needs for both public safety and immigration enforcement in order to make families and communities safer.
To read MCC's testimony during the 2020 session CLICK HERE.