Following a Baltimore Sun / Howard County Times article on June 20th (Howard immigration nonprofit looks into restructuring amid financial concerns) Jon Weinstein (previous member of the Howard County Council in District 1) wrote the following response to the Baltimore Sun. He was gracious enough to share that letter with Scott E’s Blog…here it is:

FIRN Deserves Additional Support

The Times article on June 20 regarding FIRN was a reminder of the ugly side of politics. The article again brings into question County Executive Ball’s motives for the divisive Sanctuary legislation he introduced in January 2017. Ball forwarded the legislation based on President-Elect Trump’s promises to institute policies that would hurt immigrants, especially undocumented people. While President Trump did follow through on some of his threats, County Executive Ball has yet to take action.

While on the council, I opposed the legislation as misdirected, poorly researched, and having significant unintended consequences for public safety. Unlike the bill’s sponsors I worked closely with the community organizations and county police to understand that impact and developed effective approaches to address the fears in the community, including voting for increased funding for FIRN.

Was Ball’s Sanctuary legislation simply political grand-standing as many suspected? Why hasn’t County Executive Ball filed similar legislation since being elected? Or issue an Executive Order to achieve the same result? Or increase FIRN’s funding to meet the significant and continuing increase in the demand for FIRN’s services to the immigrant community? Where are the three councilmembers (Jones, Rigby, and Walsh) who campaigned in 2018 to re-introduce the legislation? Where are the outcries for action by the groups who supported Ball’s sanctuary bill (Howard County Indivisible, ACLU, CASA de Maryland, PATH, and others)?

FIRN is the ONLY organization in Howard County with the resources, expertise, and credibility within the immigrant community to address the real concerns of their diverse constituents. Members of the community who supported the Sanctuary bill should be outraged at the lack of support for this organization and, in the absence of needed financial support from the county, should open their wallets and donate whatever they can afford to support this great organization.

In early 2017, Ball’s Sanctuary bill created a dangerous divide in Howard County. With the veto, Ball simply walked away without offering constructive alternatives. His inaction since being elected County Executive is like a doctor who knows a patient has serious disease but doesn’t tell them or offer treatment. In a Jewish Times article published February 17, 2017, Councilman Ball said he was “…saddened by the county executive’s veto … especially after hearing from so many people about their concerns and knowing that with each passing day, the concern grows.” These concerns about Trump’s actions  have only worsened; with mass deportation threats lingering today.

Over 900 days have passed since Ball introduced the Sanctuary legislation and over 200 since he took an oath as Executive. On an issue he stated was critical to the safety of people in Howard County, Ball’s current silence on this issue is deafening.

Jon Weinstein is a former District 1 Council Member and was Chairman during the Sanctuary legislative process

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Note: the remainder of the article is from Scott E

I want to thank Jon Weinstein for sharing the information above and allowing me to publish it on the blog.

Obviously the write up above is specific to the Sun article from June 20th…but also is relevant with the U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity that happened in Howard County on June 26th…Here is a story from Baltimore Fishbowl on that topic.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released the following press release (County Executive Ball Releases Statement on ICE Activity) yesterday afternoon. I am personally glad he did and that he stated the following in the release “…I want to put a stop to any misinformation…” and “…To clarify, this activity was part of a specific, standard criminal enforcement operation, not a raid or sweep…”…one has to wonder if those parts of the statement had to do with the Baltimore Sun article title and various elected members from Howard County using the word “Raid” in social media posts:

After the press release by the County Executive at least one of the three noted above posted an update on social media correcting their original post:

 

The County Executive visited the Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network (FIRN) and posted the following on Facebook yesterday afternoon:

I wanted to share the write up from Jon Weinstein plus share information I saw on social media yesterday to give as full a picture as I could on this topic. I am sure many will have opinions and comments (The County Executive has received more than 250 comments on Facebook so far after publishing his press release)…so feel free to let me know your thoughts on any of this in comments on the blog or on social media.

Scott E