Two days before the Maryland Legislature was set to adjourn early because of the coronavirus pandemic, 50 faith-based organizations and places of worship sent a letter to Maryland’s House and Senate leadership urging them to pass sanctuary legislation before adjourning their session.
According to the letter’s signatories, this legislation is critical at this juncture and legislators have a “moral obligation” to pass sanctuary legislation to “make hospitals safer for immigrants and to build community trust…for all” during this coronavirus crisis. They claim that illegal aliens are afraid to seek treatment when they are ill which will have an impact on the public health and safety.
As a rule, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not engage in immigration enforcement at sensitive locations like hospitals, schools, or places of worship unless there are exigent circumstances. And, it’s not the hospitals’ practice to notify immigration officials when they treat patients who are in the country illegally.
Moreover, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires all hospitals to provide medical treatment to any individual who arrives at the emergency department. This well-known fact is clearly evidenced by the nearly $30 billion in federal and state medical costs spent annually on those in our country illegally. This clearly demonstrates that illegal aliens have no fear of accessing free healthcare.
If these faith leaders truly cared about the safety of their congregations and their communities, they would not push Maryland legislators to pass sweeping sanctuary legislation that goes beyond existing practices that already protect people who require critical health care. Since Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich issued the “Promoting Community Trust” executive order in July 2019, the county has experienced a crime wave with nine sexual assaults between July and October and two alleged rapes of 11-year-old girls in the first two months of 2020.
In California, sanctuary policies have led to more crimes and more innocent victims. In the last two years, the Orange County sheriff’s office has released more than 1,500 illegal aliens with ICE detainers back onto the streets. Of those, 238 were rearrested in Orange County for new crimes including rape, assault with a deadly weapon, child sex offenses, domestic violence, and driving under the influence. Every single one of those crimes was preventable because none of those criminals should have still been in the U.S.
Apparently the goal of these faith leaders is to scare Maryland legislators into believing immigration enforcement will lead to horrific consequences during the coronavirus pandemic. It is disappointing that faith leaders seek to push their political agenda rather than ministering to the spiritual needs of their congregation during these scary and uncertain times.