Mayor Rawlings-Blake Signs Executive Order to Protect New Americans from Discrimination
Executive Order seeks to clarify protections for crime victims and witnesses, regardless of immigration status.
Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued an Executive Order to all City agencies in an effort to protect new Americans from discrimination and increase access to public safety resources and City services for foreign-born city residents. The Executive Order is a comprehensive update and clarification of the City’s existing anti-discrimination policies and local law enforcement practices.
“Throughout Baltimore’s great history, we have strived to be a place that welcomes foreign-born residents to participate fully in civic life, recognizing that our city’s ethnic and cultural diversity is a key element to strong and growing neighborhoods,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “This new Executive Order clarifies existing anti-discrimination policies and local law enforcement practices in Baltimore and makes clear that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”
“Most importantly, this Executive Order will make clear that all victims and witnesses of crime in Baltimore, regardless of immigration status, must be treated with human dignity and respect. This policy will ensure that victims and witnesses can continue to feel safe reporting criminal incidents to Baltimore Police Officers,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.
The Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, Office of Neighborhoods, and the Baltimore City Hispanic Commission worked closely together to craft the agreement at Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s request. The signed Executive Order will be noted by the Board of Estimates on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Mayor Rawlings-Blake is committed to continuing an open dialogue between City Government and immigrant communities to ensure that the policies promulgated in the Executive Order are fully implemented. None of the provisions in the Executive Order challenge state and federal law enforcement practices.
“We applaud the Mayor’s leadership for ensuring that immigrant communities are protected and their needs are met without the fear of discrimination. We will continue to work with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in welcoming new Americans and making Baltimore a great place to grow,” said the members of the Baltimore City Hispanic Commission in a joint statement.
The Mayor’s Executive Order promulgates the following policies to all City agencies and employees, effective immediately:
- No City department, agency, officer or employee shall discriminate against any resident of Baltimore City based on confirmed or suspected race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, and/or inability to speak English.
- No City funds, resources, or personnel shall be used to investigate, question, apprehend, or arrest an individual solely for an actual or suspected civil violation of federal immigration law unless required by federal or state law.
- No City Department, agency, officer or employee shall condition the provision of City services or benefits on the immigration status of the individual seeking those services or benefits unless such conditions are lawfully imposed by federal or state law.
- City of Baltimore Public Safety Agencies, subject to the authority of the Police Department and Police Commissioner provided for in the Maryland Public Local Law for Baltimore City, Subtitle 16, and their officials and employees shall not inquire about a person’s immigration status or contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for the purpose of initiating civil enforcement of immigration proceedings, unless required by federal or state law. It shall be the policy of these Agencies not to inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who call or approach the police or other City employees seeking assistance.
- The City of Baltimore calls upon ICE agents performing official business in the City to identify themselves as federal immigration officers and to make clear that they are not officers, agents, or employees of the City.
- Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to prohibit any City officer or employee from participating in task force activities with federal criminal law enforcement authorities.
- Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to prohibit any Baltimore Police officer from investigating violations of criminal law.
- Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to prohibit any law enforcement officer from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the investigation and apprehension of undocumented immigrants suspected of criminal activity.
A copy of the Mayor’s Executive Order “Advancing Public Safety and Access to City Services” is attached.
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