Saturday, January 24, 2009

Montgomery County recommendations from HSM meeting

[The following is our formal recommendation, born of the recent face to face meeting with Montgomery County, Including HSM members and Ike Leggett, Chief Tom Manger, and the leaders of Corrections, Attorneys Office, and Human Rights.]

Help Save Maryland Press Release

January 21, 2009 Mr. Ike LeggettMontgomery County Executive

SUBJECT: Policy Recommendations - January 16, 2009 Meeting

Thank you and your staff for organizing and participating in the Friday, January 16, 2009 meeting with representatives of Help Save Maryland, Judicial Watch, Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland and Maryland Coalition of Community Organizers. It was a productive and frank exchange of views and ideas between Montgomery County officials and concerned citizens regarding the growing crime in our community.

Based on our discussion and understanding of your proposed modifications to MC Police and Department of Correction policies and procedures, listed below are our suggested recommendations for inclusion in your on-going review. We believe that implementation of these recommendations will allow MC Law Enforcement officials to do a better job in determining "lawful presence" and preventing crime, and it will make Montgomery County citizens feel safer in their communities, not only in perception but in reality.

-- Commit the needed resources to have a significant number of County Police and Sheriff's Deputies trained under the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 287g program. The training costs and time commitments are minimal and are clearly outweighed by the long-term benefits to the safety and well-being of our citizens.

-- Enter into an agreement with ICE allowing their officers to have a physical presence in all County jail facilities to screen the country of citizenship and immigration status of every inmate. Montgomery County Law Enforcement Authorities would remain in control of the facilities, but would leverage ICE resources to improve public safety. The ICE agreement should also make Montgomery County Correction facilities designated ICE holding facilities, funded by ICE for their activities in the region.

-- Implement a policy to require that all organizations receiving county funding, support or like-kind aid must allow screening regarding "lawful presence" for all their clients including day laborers and others using their services. Screening would also cover oversight of organization ID cards provided to service users. Failure to comply with these requirements would block future funding to these organizations.

-- Create an advisory board of select organizations representing the spectrum of viewpoints on crime - "Making Montgomery Safe". The Board would meet monthly and report directly to the County Executive.

-- Kickoff a series of Town Hall Meetings on the subject of "Effects of Illegal Immigration on Montgomery County", hosted by the County Executive and the Montgomery County Council. Public forums would provide all citizens and legal residents the opportunity to freely express their views on this important subject to their elected officials.

We again thank for the January 16 meeting and look forward to further discussions with you and your staff on this important subject.

Brad Botwin, Director, Help Save Maryland, 240-447-1884

Steve Berryman, Coordinator, Frederick County, Help Save Maryland, 240 876 4776
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