by Amy Britt
On Sunday, September 24, 2017, the Forum on Immigration and the Fight for Justice was held at the University of Maryland, College Park. The event was organized by the Prince George’s County Resist Coalition and a chapter of Our Revolution. Laurel Resist, a member of both Anne Arundel Huddle Network and PG County Resist Coalition was part of the organization effort. Members reported back with three easy action steps that all of us in the Anne Arundel Huddle Network can take to fight for justice.
Approximately 200 people attended the event at the Stamp Student Union, on campus.
Brian Frosh, the Attorney General of Maryland was the keynote speaker at the Forum.
Frosh voiced a strong opinion against Donald Trump’s immigration stance. “Besides being unconstitutional, Trump’s policies are stupid,” Frosh said, drawing applause. “They don’t make us safer; they make us less safe.”
Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive and a candidate for governor, provided introductory remarks. Following the Attorney General’s keynote speech, a diverse panel of eight elected officials and activists answered questions from the moderator, County Council Vice-Chair Danielle Glaros, before opening up to questions from the audience.
The panel offered a broad range of experience but a singular focus on protecting and preserving the rights of Maryland residents. Senator Victor Ramirez described how Maryland now allows undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses. Mary Lou McDonough, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections, spoke about not detaining people without a warrant for a crime; unlike Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County does not participate in the 287(g) program. Gustavo Torres, the Executive Director of Casa de Maryland and Casa de Virginia, stood and made an impassioned plea for the audience members to support the Maryland Trust Act.
The Trust Act, a sanctuary bill that would protect immigrants throughout the state regardless of the decisions of local government, came up repeatedly during the event. Frosh, Senator Ramirez, Delegate Sanchez, Mr. Aalim-Johnson, President of the PG County Muslim Council, and Mr. Torres all spoke about the need for the Trust Act. During the last session of the General Assembly, a version of the Trust Act passed the House of Delegates but not the Senate. “There is one individual, one person, who is holding up everything,” Torres said, referring to Mike Miller, who has been president of the Maryland Senate since 1987. Torres urged everyone in the audience to contact Miller and express strong support for a new Trust Act during the 2018 session.
A video of the event is available at the PG County Resist Coalition Facebook page.
How can you help?
- Contact Mike Miller at (410) 841-3700 and Thomas.V.Mike.Miller@Senate.State.Md.Us and tell him that you want Maryland residents to be safe from racial profiling, detention, and deportation.
- Educate yourself about the 287(g) program that is about to launch in Anne Arundel County at https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/287g-program-immigration.
- Sign up for notifications of local upcoming immigration-related actions at wearecasa.org and aclu-md.org.
Prince George’s County Resist Coalition is a collective of progressive groups, including Laurel Resist, a member of the Anne Arundel Huddle Network. The city of Laurel is uniquely situated at the intersection of four counties: Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery. For more information, contact Amy Britt of Laurel Resist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos ©Benjamin Schultz/PGCRC