Ocean City Today
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Sanctuary bill gets no vote from Carozza and Mathias

Immigration measure likely to be vetoed by Gov. Hogan if it makes it to his desk
By Brian Gilliland | Mar 30, 2017

Editor's note: A previous version of the story stated Del. Carozza had never spoken against a particular bill before, which is incorrect. We regret the error.

 

(March 31, 2017) As the end of the state’s legislative session approaches, the volume of everything — rhetoric, amendments, changes and debates — increases as the most fundamental resource, time, decreases.

Though they can and do disagree on some issues, local politicians also must work across party lines when their interests coincide. In this case, both State Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38) and Delegate Mary Beth Carozza (R-38C), who each represent a combination of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties including Ocean City, see eye to eye on legislation that would declare Maryland a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. They’re against it.

“I’ll vote against the Maryland Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act. Immigration is a federal issue, and it’s clear we’re not going to get a federal solution — so we’re hoping to find a local one,” Mathias said. “I can’t support a bill that limits police engagement.”

Mathias said he would prefer a measure that wouldn’t limit an officer’s ability to ask questions.

“I hope to find a vehicle where all folks could trust law enforcement,” he said.

Carozza has also voiced strong dissent, and took the rare step of standing up during the debate to oppose the bill.

“When Del. Nicholaus Kipke (R-31B) offered an amendment to exempt terrorism and espionage that was defeated — that was astounding to me,” she said.

She said she tried arguing on the basis of her appropriations committee membership, by explaining that enacting this bill could cost the state federal funding, and then tried the public safety angle.

“My place of work was attacked by terrorists. I was in the Pentagon on 9-11. I told my colleagues that I am sensitive to the terrorism aspects of it,” she said.

The bill passed the by a vote of 83-55 in the House of Delegates, which is not veto-proof. Two-thirds of both houses must vote in favor of the bill to override a likely veto by Gov. Larry Hogan.

The Maryland Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act would prohibit government agents from taking certain steps for immigration enforcement purposes. It was filed, according to the bill’s original sponsor, State Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-47), as a direct opposition to President Donald Trump’s policies.

The bill was crossfiled in the House of Delegates and sponsored by Del. Marice Morales, (D-19), which appears to be the version of the bill that crossed over to the Senate as part of the reconciliation process.

Hogan had already threatened to veto the bill when new fire was added to the debate when two students at Rockville High School allegedly raped a third. The two suspects, aged 17 and 18, are illegal immigrants, according to the Washington Post.

Earlier this week, the father of one of the accused was arrested by immigration officials, according to published reports.

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