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COUNCIL ENACTS RESOLUTION ADDRESSING THE PUBLIC HEALTH THREAT OF IMMIGRATION DETENTION DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Prince George’s County Council, during a virtual session on Monday, April 20, 2020, introduced Council Resolution - 012-2020, legislation recognizing the public health threat to Prince George’s County residents caused by holding residents in immigration detention during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Following a public hearing, CR-012-2020 was unanimously adopted by the Council.
With the adoption of CR-012-2020, Council Members joined healthcare professionals and leaders across the country in their calls for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to release all County residents currently held in immigration detention or provide appropriate health services to those detained and halt all civil immigration enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
District 2 Council Member Deni Taveras, sponsor of the legislation says the best way to ensure the safety of all County residents is to also ensure the safety of residents held in civil immigration custody. Council Chair Todd M. Turner, and Council Members Tom Dernoga, Dannielle Glaros and Jolene Ivey co-proposed the legislation.
“We have made it a misdemeanor in the state of Maryland to not comply with social distancing, yet we are keeping at least 29 of Prince George’s County residents, from complying," said Council Member Taveras. "We must consider the health and safety of all Prince Georgians, including those who are in immigration detention.”
There are at least 29 Prince George’s County residents still in immigration detention ranging from age 19 to 62 years old, with an average United States residency of 16 years. At least nine of the residents detained have pre-existing medical conditions, making them even more susceptible to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
In 2018, Prince George’s County partnered with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition to provide free legal support and advocacy services to eligible County residents who have been detained and are facing deportation.