By: Diane Bernard, Public News Service – MD

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Outrage over Immigration and Customs Enforcement practices in Maryland has spurred immigrant rights groups to host a rally this coming Sunday in Howard County calling for state officials to cut ties with the federal agency.

The protest will feature immigrants’ personal stories about what they say is an overreach by ICE officers.

One woman, Miriam, is upset about her undocumented husband, Blevin, who was pulled over recently by Howard County police for a broken taillight. He was sent to a county ICE detention center after an officer checked his immigration status with the agency.

Speaking through an interpreter, Miriam says she is scared her family might have to go back to Honduras.

“I would say please, don’t deport my husband,” she pleads. “He’s in grave danger if he’s deported to Honduras.

“In Honduras, it was really dangerous for us, including they killed two of my brothers. When that happened, that’s when we fled to the United States.”

Howard County officials say they are protecting public safety, and that all ICE detainees are being held on jailable offenses.

The rally Sunday will be held at Oakland Mills Interfaith Center and starts at 6:30 p.m.

Members of the Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Justice say local government is enabling an inhumane practice.

Rabbi Sonya Starr, whose congregation is part of the coalition, says ICE has become an extension of what she calls a harsh immigration policy by the Trump administration. She points out that it’s good to work with law enforcement, but she thinks ICE goes too far.

“They’ve picked up people that should not be picked up,” she states. “They pick up people in a random way that is not legal to be picking them up.

“And so ICE itself is an unethical institution and local agencies should not be helping them do their unethical work.”

Nationwide, non-criminal arrests more than doubled from 2016 to 2018 from about 9,000 to more than 20,000. In Maryland, the number grew by more than 145% during the same time.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...