Maryland Continues Path To Shield Illegal Aliens With “Probation Not Detention” Bill
FAIR Take | March 2022
The passage of last year’s sanctuary and detention ban bill in Maryland did nothing to pump the brakes on pro-illegal alien proposals in 2022. Despite the Biden administration’s lack of immigration enforcement, Maryland legislators are determined to provide even more benefits to illegal aliens than to struggling Maryland citizens.
Early in this year’s legislative session, several bills were introduced that would further shield criminal aliens and act as a magnet for more illegal immigration including legislation to provide counsel to those in removal proceedings, to allow probation before pleading guilty to a crime, and to grant occupational or professional licenses to illegal aliens. Hearings for these bills were scheduled early in the session and it seemed like they would all move quickly through the legislative process.
After the three bills had hearings in February, they seemed to falter, languishing in committee without consideration. This was despite tremendous pressure from pro-illegal alien groups like CASA de Maryland and the Maryland ACLU, among others. However, just before the crossover deadline of March 21, the so-called “Probation Not Deportation” bill, House Bill (HB) 559 moved. It passed the House Judiciary Committee on March 17 and the next day passed the full House, its chamber of origin.
While it is unlikely the bills to provide counsel to those in removal proceedings or grant professional or occupational licenses to illegal aliens will move, the bills are not yet dead for the session. Missing the crossover deadline only means that if the bills advance they will now need to go through a more complicated process involving the Rules Committees of each chamber.
The House passage of HB 559 by the crossover deadline indicates House leadership strongly supports the bill. Unsurprisingly, pro-illegal alien groups are pushing full throttle to pass this legislation.
HB 559 undermines federal law by allowing a criminal alien to avoid the immigration consequences that would normally stem under federal law from a criminal conviction or sentence. It allows Maryland to manipulate and subvert our immigration laws to keep illegal aliens in the country. The legislation is also patently unfair because it could cause disparate outcomes for US citizens and illegal aliens and legal immigrants. HB 559 allows courts to consider the immigration consequences in determining their course of action which would not happen with US citizens.
There are about 20 legislative days left in the session until the Maryland legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 11.