In this year's General Assembly, two out of three bills that we worked on were passed, with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange -- Health Care and Dental Care Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants which will be studied over the summer for the upcoming session.
SB 806 – Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and Maryland Department of Health - Health Care and Dental Care Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants – Report
This year, the General Assembly enacted HB 1080 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Children and Pregnant Women (Healthy Babies Equity Act) – enacted without Governor’s signature. This bill will provide medical assistance via Medicaid to undocumented immigrant mothers and babies for pre-natal and post-partum care. Studies show that the majority of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Seventeen states, including neighboring Virginia, provide coverage to pregnant people regardless of immigration status through Medicaid or another state program.
Failed to Pass
HB 559 - Probation Before Judgment - Probation Agreements - Probation Not Deportation – Passed House, but failed to get final passage on Senate Floor
The UU Legislative Ministry of MD advocated for four immigrants’ rights bills during the 2021 MD General Assembly legislative session. Two of the bills-- HB16, Dignity Not Detention and HB23, MD Driver Privacy Act--- were passed and sent to the Governor who, unfortunately, vetoed them. However, the General Assembly overrode the vetoes in a Special Sesson in December.
The other two bills – SB88, the Trust Act and SB317, Universal Representation, did not survive committee deliberations. However, some policing provisions of the Trust Act were incorporated into the vetoed Dignity Not Detention bill.
Here’s some detail information about the bills:
Official Title: Correctional Services – Immigration Detention – Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act)
Description: This bill prohibits state and local jurisdictions from entering into agreements facilitating immigration-related detention by private entities; prohibiting governmental entities from approving zoning variances or permits for the construction or reuse of buildings to house immigration-related detainees without public notification; requiring governmental entities to terminate existing contracts for the detention of immigration-related detainees by October 1, 2022. (Currently, Frederick, Worcester and Dorchester Counties have immigrant detention centers under agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.) Additionally, some police-related provisions of the Trust Act were incorporated into the Dignity Not Detention bill. These provisions:
Prohibit local and state law enforcement agents from asking about immigration or citizenship status or place of birth during a stop or arrest
Prohibit police from detaining or prolonging questioning based on a civil immigration violation
Prohibit police from coercing, intimidating or threatening an individual or community members based on immigration status or that of a family member
Official Title: Personal Information - State and Local Agencies - Restrictions on Access
Description: Requiring an officer, an employee, an agent, or a contractor of the State or a political subdivision to deny inspection by a federal agency seeking access for certain immigration enforcement matters of a public record that contains personal information or certain photographic images unless a valid warrant is provided; requiring law enforcement agencies operating certain databases to require certain individuals accessing the databases to provide certain information; requiring a certain annual report to the General Assembly.
Official Title: State and Local Government - Participation in Federal Immigration Enforcement
Description: Providing that an official of State or local government is immune from criminal and civil liability for refusing to provide information to the federal government or another state for a certain purpose; authorizing the State to indemnify a certain official for certain costs or judgments; expressing the intent of the General Assembly to maintain community trust in Maryland governmental operations and law enforcement efforts by clarifying the parameters of State and local participation in federal immigration enforcement efforts.
This bill did not survive in the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. However, the police-related provisions of this bill were incorporated int HB16, Dignity Not Detention that passed the General Assembly, but was vetoed by Governor Hogan.
Official Title: Office of the Attorney General - Right to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Coordinator
Description: Establishing that certain individuals have a right to legal representation in certain immigration proceedings; establishing the Right to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Coordinator in the Office of the Attorney General to manage services and resources in order to provide all covered individuals with access to certain legal representation; requiring the Coordinator to designate appropriate community groups to provide outreach and education services to individuals and communities impacted by immigration detention.
This bill will be reintroduced in the 2022 session.
During the 2020 session, the UU Legislative Ministry of MD supported three immigrants’ rights bills. None of the bills, sadly, passed the General Assembly. One of the bills, however, Dignity Not Detention, was reintroduced in 2021 and was passed with incorporated provisions from the Trust Act (SB 901/ HB 1612). The 2021 bill was vetoed by the Governor, but we anticipate a veto override in the 2021 Special Session.
These bills were:
SB 901 / HB 1612: The Trust Act
A comprehensive bill that clarifies state and local government participation with Federal authorities in civil immigration enforcement. The bill, among other things:
offers immunity and indemnifies state and local officials who refuse to provide information to the Federal or another state government regarding immigration status.
Prohibits law enforcement agents from asking about immigration status during routine stops, a search or an arrest or detain an individual in order to find out about immigration status or transfer an individual to Federal civil immigration authorities without a warrant
SB 903 / HB 403: Safe Spaces:
Requires the MD Attorney General to consult with stakeholders to develop guidelines to assist schools, hospitals and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration activities on their premises to ensure that these places are safe and accessible to all. This bill did not survive committee deliberations.
SB 850 / HB 677:
Dignity Not Detention Act prohibits governmental entities from entering into agreements facilitating immigration-related detention by private entities and prohibits governmental entities from entering into certain agreements to house immigration-related detainees; requires governmental entities to terminate existing contracts for the detention of immigration-related detainees not later than October 1, 2022. The bill did not survive committee deliberations.
HB913/SB817: Prohibits correctional facilities from detaining a person beyond lawful release date and prohibits notifying Federal immigration authorities of such, limiting ICE “detainer” requests. Failed to get out of committee
HB214/SB144: Victims and Witnesses - U Nonimmigrant Status - Certification of Victim Helpfulness
The bill requires authorized law enforcement officials to certify the helpfulness of a foreign national who is a victim or witness in the prosecution of a crime in a petition for a U Immigrant Visa within 90 days. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will grant a temporary (2 years) visa to foreign nationals who are victims of qualifying criminal activity and their qualifying family members. The intent is to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. This bill was enacted.
HB262/SB537: Higher Education - Tuition Rates – Exemptions (aka Dream Act Expansion)
This bill expands the 2012 Dream Act. In the previously enacted legislation, an undocumented student could attend a four-year public college at in-state tuition rates after first graduating from a community college in the same jurisdiction as her high school. The expansion removes the community college and jurisdictional requirements, allowing undocumented students to attend 4-year public colleges directly at in-state tuition rates. This bill passed, was vetoed by the governor, and the governor’s veto was overridden.
HB224/SB742: State and Local Government - Correctional Units - Detention Agreements and Contracting for Privatization of Facilities
This bill prohibits state and local correctional units from contracting out various services including the ownership, operation and management of detention facilities and prohibits any facility from entering into a detention agreement for reimbursement at a rate greater than a state-determined per diem rate to ensure that such facilities are for public safety and not as revenue enhancing methods. Some county detention facilities have intergovernmental service agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with per diem rates that may exceed the state-determined level. The bill could result in counties with agreements with ICE to end the agreements. This bill did not pass.
Testimony: 2021 – Attached Files
Dignity Not Detention