As harsh enforcement actions of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) make daily news, more Frederick County residents want to know about the sheriff’s office’s ICE immigration enforcement program. They will have an opportunity to hear and to present their concerns at the sheriff’s office’s annual 287(g) Steering Committee meeting, June 13, at 7 p.m. at Winchester Hall. The sheriff’s office’s 2016 MOA with ICE states under the Outreach section, “it will, as necessary, engage in Steering Committee meetings ... ICE may participate in such outreach upon FCSO’s request.”

But ICE, the invitee to the meeting, has announced that no taping or video recording of the meeting is allowed. Community stakeholders unable to attend the meeting are shut out. A recent request to televise and tape the 287(g) Steering Committee Meeting was denied. Vivian Laxton, director of county communications, explained that the June 13 meeting is sponsored by ICE, not the sheriff or the county, and ICE will not allow any recording of the meeting. This is contrary to a reading of the 2016 agreement.

The purpose of the Steering Committee Meeting is community outreach, as stated in the MOA. The 2017 Steering Committee Meeting began with the sheriff’s office’s PowerPoint presentation of the Meetings Mission Statement: to (1. Demonstrate program oversight and direction; (2) Identify issues and concerns regarding immigration enforcement activities; (3) Offer community stakeholders opportunities to communicate community-level perspectives.

Missing from the 2017 Mission Statement was an item (3) “Increase Transparency” that appears in the 2015 Mission Statement.

ICE’s refusal to permit live streaming/taping of the Steering Committee Meeting runs counter to the former statements about expanding transparency. Does ICE want to shut out most residents as it revs up enforcement against immigrants in the U.S. illegally? This action comes at a time of public outrage from many sectors over its separation of children from their parents at the border and its director declaring all immigrants who cross the border without documents are criminals.

The sheriff’s office should conduct the meeting and set the rules. It is responsible for the 287(g) public meeting. Transparency requires permitting taping and televising to ensure that the discussion of this program funded by taxpayers be widely available to them. Open meeting laws support this practice and most public meetings are televised.

There is much at stake for the county as it again considers the merits of the sheriff’s office‘s immigration enforcement program at its annual Steering Committee Meeting. Its usefulness has to be weighed against its use of local resources. In recent budget hearings, the sheriff’s office requested more deputies. However, limiting access to that discussion for Frederick County citizens by ICE, a federal government agency, at a meeting in Winchester Hall is disturbing and outrageous and possibly illegal.

Mary Ann Ford

Buckeystown

The RISE Coalition of Western Maryland — Resources for Immigrant Services and Empowerment

(11) comments

awteam2000

“ICE restricts public access at outreach meeting” should be reprinted in tomorrow’s FNP. This time with the right letter.

threecents

[thumbup]

DickD

As a carpet bagger from Balt (tee) more, you are not familiar with what the Blaine gang did to Frederick County.  Those of us that lived here are and it cost the County a lot of money.  There was all the money for Jefferson Park, the Montevue and Citizens fiasco, to name three.  Then there was all the money those businesses gave for campaign funds to do away with needed funds for roads, schools and other infrastructures; not to mention the fire taxes.

No, you are a carpet bagger, keep out of Frederick County politics!

phydeaux994

How much did Kirby pay this shill? In eight years Kirby has done nothing to make Frederick County a better place to live. All he has done is Make a fool of himself. Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter[smile][beam][lol]

awteam2000

Can you share some of the 260 taxes or fees that Kirby cut?

phydeaux994

Please do. Just 10 or 20 would be just fine.

FrederickFan

All they did was make a copy of the list of fees that the County pays for inspections, permits, and various random activities, and took $25 off of each one. It was a completely worthless exercise. Now, instead of the person getting the service paying the full fee, part of it is now being paid out of the general fund, meaning you and me have to pay for someone else's service, inspection or permit.

Punishing the taxpayers and then lying about it. All in a days work for Delauter.

Burgessdr

The LTE writer said "fire and rescue, the sheriff’s office, and 911 service all have been largely ignored by the current county executive."   This is a blatantly false statement. 

Gardner's proposed budget had the largest county staffing requests at $3.09 million to add paid staff at several volunteer fire companies to help fill 40 positions. It included $1.2 million for the sheriff’s office to hire eight deputies and purchase vehicles as well as $1.24 million to hire 20 people at the Emergency Management 911 call center.  Gardner's prior year budget included eght new correctional officers, four new sheriff’s deputies and 12 new firefighters.  Last year’s approved budget added 57 new positions to county government, more than half of them in public safety positions.

Liar liar.

DickD

The whole LTE is trash, Don![thumbup]

Fawned

This headline doesn't match up with the article.

richardlyons

[thumbup] Editor needs to wake up.

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