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In Maryland’s Frederick County, flawed and racist ICE agreement is at center of sheriff’s race

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Local organizations and advocates who have for years advocated for the sheriff’s department to terminate its 287(g) agreement with ICE feel encouraged by the signs and trends in the region since Bickel challenged Jenkins in 2018. ”The county has shifted bluer since,” Bolts reports. “Biden’s 10-point win over Trump marked the first time a Democratic presidential candidate carried Frederick County since 1964. In 2021, Democrats used their new majority on the county council to create the first Immigrant Affairs Commission, a body meant to facilitate communication between immigrants and elected officials.”

Statewide that same year, lawmakers overrode a veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and passed into law policy severely limiting ICE’s detention power in the state. The Dignity Not Detention Act blocks private detention and phases out existing agreements between local jails and ICE. Lawmakers also overrode a veto to pass into law the Maryland Driver Privacy Act, which shields the privacy of immigrant drivers.

Of course, it’s the county voters who will be the ones deciding who heads the sheriff’s department there—and they feel hopeful. “Jenkins’s critics believe that conditions are in place for the sheriff to lose in a still-diversifying Frederick County, from the local backlash to Trump to this statewide move to be more welcoming to immigrants,” Bolts continued. “And they intend to keep reminding people of his policies.”

Jenkins has the distinction of being one of the sheriffs singled out by name in the ACLU’s April report. ICE went into agreement with Frederick County “after he ran on an anti-immigrant platform that included a warning that ‘aliens’ were moving to Frederick County from Northern Virginia—and a pledge that he would ‘shoot them right back,’” the report said. Jenkins also claimed that “the single biggest threat to our country is the immigration problem.” Just last year, he was forced to apologize to a Latina racially profiled by his department. Under a settlement, the county agreed to pay Sara Haidee Aleman Medrano $125,000. Jenkins also has a history of associating with anti-immigrant hate groups.

While acting ICE Director Tae Johnson (a holdover from the previous insurrectionist administration) has repeatedly pledged a review of the 287(g) program, “to date the agency has not announced a process for this review,” lawmakers said this month. President Joe Biden as a candidate also pledged to end 287(g) agreements entered into by the insurrectionist president, but that promise has gone unfulfilled. County voters hold the power to end their own agreement in their hands.

Santiago, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient in the county, told Bolts that he worries constantly “because my dad drives everyday and he’s undocumented. There are times when he and my mom leave the house and I won’t hear from them for a few hours. I get worried. Did something bad happen? Did they get stopped?” As previously noted here at Daily Kos, immigrant communities in Gwinnett County, Georgia, described “relief” after Sheriff Keybo Taylor kept his promise and terminated the department’s 287(g) after winning his election in 2020.

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RELATED STORIES:

Immigrant communities describe ‘relief’ after Georgia sheriffs terminate ICE agreements

Georgia county’s new Democratic sheriff ends flawed and racist ICE agreement on first day in office

ICE pledged review of flawed 287(g) agreements more than a year ago, but still no decision




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