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Anne Arundel County ending jail immigration screening contract

Posted at 11:46 AM, Dec 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 08:59:44-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Anne Arundel County is ending its immigration program that checks the legal status of those arrested, County Executive Steuart Pittman announced on Thursday.

To complete a campaign promise, Pittman canceled a federal immigration program called 287g. That federal program has federal agents or local detention officers verify the status of immigrants after their arrest.

Pittman says that undocumented residents here in the county may feel intimidated if they are in fear of deportation and are arrested here in the county.

"It's very important if we're gonna combat MS13 or any of the other gangs that grow and that exist off of extortion payments. Extortion from people who fear deportation, that we need to work closely with them."

Chief Tim Altomare says as the 287g program goes away, the police department will continue to build trust in the community, especially the those that are foreign born.

"Nothing is going to change in the bridges we've built, nothing's going to change in our posture everyday, nothing's going to change in the overtime, not a financial overtime but a heart overtime, that we put in to helping people in this community.

As Pittman discontinues one ICE program here in the county, he will continue to use a second one that the county is currently involved in. Pittman says the county will continue the ICE detainee contract that is funded by the feds.

The program houses up to 130 illegal immigrants arrested. Pittman will use some of the money to fund attorneys for undocumented resident that are arrested.

"I feel that it's our obligation as human beings and as people who believe in justice for all, that we should do everything we can for to provide legal assistance for these folks," explained Pittman.

Frederick and Harford are now the only counties that have the 287g program in place.