Issues and Values
Related Policy or Information
People should be allowed to seek safe places to live
Many people come to the US to escape violence from crime, gangs and even government oppression.
People should be allowed to improve the lives of their family
People come to the US to improve their family's living situation, like many or our own forebears did.
People should try to come to America legally
Most immigrants try legal process, but few are allowed in, and their circumstances may be dangerous if they have to wait.
We should hold people accountable when they break our laws
Agreed, but illegal entry is a misdemeanor, not a crime of violence justifying arrest, splitting up families, and indefinite detention while waiting for a hearing.
We want our communities to be safe
Yes, and immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than American citizens; very few could be called criminals.
We want to keep drugs from coming into our country
Yes, illegal importation of drugs should result in arrest and prosecution. Very few immigrants try to bring in drugs.
We want to keep terrorists out
Yes, and a process of screening is and should be included in our immigration process at points of entry. No terrorists have been caught trying to get though our Southern border.
Immigrants who come here illegally shouldn’t get free healthcare here
Agreed. And they don’t. Undocumented immigrants are not entitled to Medicaid or free health service, except under the law that prohibits hospitals from turning away those who need emergency care. [This is based on the same principle as the biblical story of the good Samaritan; we should care for our neighbors.]
We shouldn’t just have open borders that let everyone in
True. Our borders should be restricted and patrolled to keep out drugs and criminals. But we can go too far by locking up families indefinitely, separating family members, and treating desperate immigrants like criminals for wanting to escape poverty and violence.
People who were brought to this country as children should not be penalized for the actions of their parents.
Agreed. For many who know no other home than America growing up, we should provide a way for them to become full members of our community as citizens.
There should be some limits on how immigration laws are enforced in order to allow immigrants to get needed healthcare, support justice in the courts and have their children educated,
We should ensure that our schools, hospitals and courthouses are safe and secure, with access to all, including our immigrant neighbors by establishing policies and procedures that limit civil immigration activities on their premises.
We want our communities to be safe.
Since law enforcement relies on trust between police and the communities they serve, it is important that immigrant communities (most of whom are legally here) do not see the police as a threat. Therefore, local police should not be deputized to enforce federal immigration law.
Every child should have a quality education to advance their opportunties for personal development and gainful employment
Maryland should adopt comprehensive and well researched legislation such as the "Blueprint for Maryland" to transform our current educational system to align with the top world class educational systems.
Children should be protected from harm motivated by racial animus
Local school systems need to take action to prevent hate crimes and other harmful acts of racism throughout all levels of Maryland schools.
Children should have equal access to resources needed for learning
Local school systems need to address inequities in education revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as access to computers and internet that are essential for remote learning.
Children have a right to be recognized as young human beings with age-appropriate expectations and treatment.
Children who commit serious crimes are often sentenced as adults. They are also sometimes housed with other adults. They need to be protected from further abuses that can occur in such settings and never be put into solitary confinement. They deserve to be provided services to help them grow into healthy mature people who can understand their role in society and become productive citizens who able to lead sustainable independent lives.
“The time should fit the crime” - Criminal sentencing should align with the level of offense.
Some criminal offences (urinating in public) can be addressed without entering the offender into the criminal justice system. Officers have the authority to discern if a person’s behavior qualifies for a citation in court or to be booked. Not only does it benefit the offender but it helps to reduce the prison population and save taxpayers’ costs.
Humans have an innate capacity to change.
Educational growth has been proven to be one of the most effective programs that an incarcerated person can do to transform his/her ability to reenter the community as an integrated productive citizen. Classes that provide personal growth and life skills can help to improve self-development. Technical and job skill certificates can increase hiring probabilities. These opportunities need to be offered to all those residing in the prisons. Data shows that it also reduces recidivism rates. Besides the containment of a prisoner as a punishment, programs and incentives for rehabilitation need to be offered to all.
Each individual has a right to receive the complete sentence that the judiciary, including any parole opportunities.
Where an individual is sentenced to a life sentence with the possibility of parole, we should rely on the parole commission to determine if someone qualifies for parole. The current process should be amended to remove the requirement that the Governor also approve parole of those with life sentences.
Humans have an ability to adapt and change. Humans are worthy of the opportunity for second chances and forgiveness.
When a person disobeys the law; their punishment is to be separated from others and lose many of the freedoms that exist in our country. The culture of the prisons needs to be one of caring for them while they recover and rehabilitate. Opportunities to heal and change need to occur during their incarceration. When they are released all punishment should end.
Individuals completing their prison sentences need to be prepared to reenter society.
Pre-release services shoul be provided, including specialized services for women, and all fees and costs related to their sentences should be removed in order to make the transition to a normal life financially possible and sustainable.
The role of police is law enforcement focused on protecting and serving communities, not acting as a military force focused on controlling people or communities.
The training and quality of character of our officers needs to be of the highest level. Supporting community policing and strengthening their relationships needs to be a priority. Police budgets need to be examined for their priorities. Ex. How much is spent for military items as compared to police training, cameras and community building. Citizens need to be included on the advisory boards reviewing complaints and investigations about police incidents. ALL communities want a police force that they can trust and will help keep them safe.
A person should be held accountable for his/her own actions, not those of another.
An individual who particiates in a felony but not in the killing of another during the crime should not be held culpable for the murder. Maryland should amend its "felony murder" statute so that this type of first-degree murder only applies to the person who committed the homicide.
The racial/ethnic make-up of prison populations should generally reflect that of the general population.
Since African Americans make up about 31% of Maryland's population but 70% of is prison population, there is an extreme racial disparity in law enforcement, prosecution and sentencing. The juvenile system and school discipline policies need to be examined. Police training for bias awareness and socialization needs to be extensively developed. Integrated education in public schools needs to examine the availability and resources for students to understand our American history.
Solitary Confinement (called "Restrictive Housing" in Maryland) is a form of human torture.
The UN has declared that no one should experience solitary confinement, and any use for safety reasons should be limited to 15 days. Alternatives need to be seriously explored and its use discarded.
Children should feel safe in their schools, free from shootings
Children should be protected from gun violence without arming teachers. Teachers should model nonviolence, not the use of force to protect their students.
Responsible gun owners should be allowed to keep their weapons.
As long as guns are kept away from children and others who should not have access, gun owners can keep and use their firarms for legitimate purposes, including hunting and self-protection.
Guns should be kept out of the hands of children, mentally ill people and those who would commit crimes with them
Background checks and a database of ineligible people should be maintained by law enforcement.
Law enforcement should have the tools to prevent gun violence.
Reasonable regulations should include background checks for any transfer of a firearm and establishment of a database to track stolen firearms and those used in crimes.
We want our communities to be safe
Inter-state trafficking in firearms should be addressed nationally since states cannot close their borders.
Victims of domestic violence should be protected from their abusers
This should include removing firearms from homes where abuse has taken place.
Gun violence is a major health problem and should be addressed as such.
Social scientists and health officials should be provided with adequate data to analyze and develop solutions.