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Prince George's County moves to make cooperation with ICE illegal

Police training video tells officers they cannot cooperate with civil immigration warrants

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The Prince George's County Council has begun considering a bill that would make county police and agency cooperation with federal immigration authorities illegal in most routine civil matters.

"No agency or agency may coordinate with an immigration agency official in furtherance of a civil immigration enforcement operation," the bill states.

County police already have a policy against immigration cooperation and coordination. The bill moves to turn the policy into the law.

The bill was introduced in the wake of incidents early in 2019 where at least three undocumented county residents had been arrested after police officers noticed warrants listed in a national database that was checked during routine identity checks. One woman was arrested after being involved in a fender bender.

Police Chief Hank Stawinski released a training video after the incidents explaining that police may not make such arrests unless the federal warrants regard criminal matters.   

RELATED: Hundreds in Montgomery County turn out for dueling rallies over immigration

Immigration detainers and deportation orders are regarded as civil matters.

"The Prince George's County Police Department has not, and will not, enforce civil process of any kind," said Stawinski in the video.

In May, two alleged MS13 gang members who had been released by state juvenile authorities despite immigration detainers against them were charged with murdering a 14-year-old Prince George's County girl.

RELATED: ICE seeks out custody of two Maryland teens accused in brutal stabbing death of 14-year-old girl

At the time, the county's Department of Corrections issued a statement: "The Department of Corrections follows the Guidance Memorandum of the Maryland Attorney General to not inform the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of individuals being released with a detainer, which is a civil matter. 

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