ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan has vetoed two bills overwhelmingly passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2021 legislative session.
House Bill 16 would essentially make Maryland a sanctuary state and prohibit law enforcement from inquiring on a suspect's immigration or citizenship status.
The bill would also require local jurisdictions in the state to terminate all immigration detention agreements with the federal government, while enabling private prisons to build or acquire new facilities to house undocumented migrants.
In a letter to House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Hogan says only three of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions have such agreements with federal immigration enforcement agencies, none of which are private prisons.
"As I have stated throughout my time in office, I remain steadfast in my opposition to any legislative or regulatory efforts that would hinder cooperation with federal law enforcement and make Maryland a sanctuary state," Hogan wrote.
The second related bill vetoed, House Bill 23, aims to deny federal immigration officials the ability to inspect certain public state records or use of facial recognition technology without a warrant.
Hogan called the bills flawed, saying they were passed without proper debate and discussion, setting a dangerous precedent.
"Flawed legislation such as this sets a dangerous precedent regarding the state’s commitment to upholding the law and ensuring the safety of our citizens."
Senate President Bill Ferguson expressed disappointment with the vetoes but said he and other leaders would address the measures before the legislature reconvenes next session.
"What is clear is that there are two visions of Maryland, one where we believe in the power of opportunity and one where we create fear and divisiveness with our neighbors," said Ferguson. "Democrats and some Republicans in the General Assembly believe in the former, but it is sadly clear that Republicans, pulled by a hard right faction believe in the latter."
Both measures were passed in the legislature with enough votes to override the vetoes.