(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/3/17) – The Maryland Outreach Department of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the introduction of a bill to declare a “sanctuary county” to protect immigrant rights.
The legislation (Council Bill 9-2017), introduced by Howard County Council Members Calvin Ball and Jen Terrasa, would prohibit discrimination in that county based on citizenship status. Under the proposed legislation, the county would follow federal laws but offer a safe haven for undocumented immigrants. The county council is scheduled to consider the bill at a meeting later today.
The bill’s introduction reads:
"The recent national political climate has galvanized support for xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist sentiments within certain portions of the population, resulting in increased incidents of hate speech and violence. Unfortunate statements made by our nation’s President-elect have bolstered such dangerous sentiments and caused many residents throughout our country and within Howard County to fear for their personal safety and the loss of civil liberties. The Howard County Council wishes to ensure that all residents of Howard County, regardless of nationality or citizenship, shall have fair and equal access to county benefits, opportunities and services."
Council Bill 9-2017: Sanctuary - Immigration and Citizenship
In a statement, CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry said:
"CAIR thanks Councilman Ball for his principled and ethical position in support of the American values of inclusion and compassion for others. If passed, this legislation would send a strong message to Howard County's most vulnerable communities that they have allies who are working to guarantee their safety and the peaceful pursuit of their dreams."
CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw added:
“Until Congress is able to pass comprehensive immigration reform – reform that includes a roadmap for citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented residents – we should respect the rights and dignity of all persons residing in the United States and provide sanctuary to the countless families that face the looming threat of having a loved one deported at a moment’s notice.”
A hearing on the bill, at which CAIR will present testimony, is scheduled for later this month.
Howard County Legislative Public Hearing – January
If Howard County passes the legislation, it will join a list of other counties and cities known as sanctuaries in Maryland, including Baltimore, Prince George's County and Montgomery County.
SEE: Howard County Council Members Push for Sanctuary County Legislation
Immigration Debate Moves to Howard County as Politicians Consider 'Sanctuary' Bill
Anyone who believes their rights have been violated may call CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or email email@example.com.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry, email@example.com, 410-971-6062; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org