Immigrants in Maryland might be concerned about news concerning more than 600 immigrants being detained in five cities throughout the country. According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's actions were routine and aimed at people in gangs, with criminal records and who had previous immigration violations. However, both immigrants and those who employ them have expressed concern about what appears to be increasing enforcement.
Although Maryland does not border any foreign countries, immigration agents working in the state will now have an increased ability to remove immigrants, according to memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security. People who cannot show that they have been in the U.S. for over two years could be automatically detained and sent back to their countries of origin. Previously, this authority had only been in place for agents operating in border states.
Maryland residents may be aware that President Donald Trump is a proponent of immigration reform. He ran on a platform of reducing both legal and illegal immigration to the country. Now, two senators are proposing a bill that would take a step toward accomplishing that goal. As part of their legislation, the number of refugees allowed into the country would be cut in half.
It's unclear how many visa holders in Maryland and other states across the nation had their visas revoked under Trump's executive order that banned people from seven countries from entering the U.S. According to a State Department spokesman, people aren't illegal if they were already in the United States when their visas were revoked by this ban.
Maryland residents have likely heard about immigration actions that President Trump has been signing. In an effort to increase the number of deportations, Trump issued orders for more federal agents on the U.S.- Mexico border and the construction of new immigration detention centers. However, some people argue that what the immigration system actually needs are more immigration judges.