‘Beyond the Pale’ Montgomery County leaders speak out on immigration ban

‘Beyond the Pale’ Montgomery County leaders speak out on immigration ban

Residents reassured of commitment to inclusive community

In a joint statement issued Tuesday, Jan. 30, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and members of the County Council reassured residents that the county is “committed to building and maintaining a safe and inclusive community….”

The statement was in response to the Jan. 27 Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States signed by President Donald Trump. The order restricts immigration from seven Muslim majority countries, suspends refugee admission for 120 days and bars refugees from Syria indefinitely. According to the Executive Order published on whitehouse.gov, the purpose of the actions is to “... protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States ….”

The actions, according to the order, are to allow officials to review policies granting admission to the United States from citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

“We greatly regret the anxiety that has been stoked among many in our community as a result of the President’s Executive Orders,” the county statement says. “We issue this statement to assure all of our residents that those orders will not change the way the county police officers or county workers interact with the public and will not impact how we provide social services.”

“Our hearts go out to the Muslim community.” — County Council President Roger Berliner

Residents are reminded that, “it is a longstanding county policy that county police do not enforce federal immigration law. Neither do they inquire about immigration status when individuals are stopped not target individuals based on ethnicity, race or religious belief.”

The statement ends with, “As your local leaders we will continue to speak out on behalf of all of our residents to promote the values that define our community. Montgomery County will remain an inclusive and welcoming place to live, work, and raise a family.”

It is signed by the County Executive, Council President Roger Berliner and all the members of the County Council.

Earlier Monday, Berliner opened his weekly news conference with a statement on the immigration ban which he considers is, “just so beyond the pale.”

He said the action by Trump impacts many in the community and the county is going to uphold the values that have been at its core for many years including public safety.

“We need to make sure our communities will not be ripped apart,” he said. “It is our diversity that makes Montgomery County a new world community. We have 170 cultures in Montgomery County and we are proud of it.”

Ending the press conference, Berliner said he feels disgust, a word he hates to use but one that highlights situation.

“I have never felt what I am feeling today,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the Muslim community.”

Standing Together

In a statement issued this week, the Montgomery County Delegation at the Maryland General Assembly responded to Executive Order on immigration:

“Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that froze travel by immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. All 32 members of the Montgomery County Delegation denounce this executive order and are working in collaboration with our Federal partners to see it reversed.

“President Trump’s executive order has negatively impacted U.S. residents as well as those friendly to our country. In Montgomery County we have built an inclusive community and want to reassure our community that all are safe and welcome here. We are encouraged by the tens of thousands of Americans who have voiced their peaceful concerns about these actions and displaying why America and Maryland are role models for the world.

“Montgomery County is the most culturally diverse county in Maryland and it is that diversity that makes us such a vibrant community. The Montgomery County Delegation stands united in our commitment to serve and protect all of our residents and we hope that the Governor will stand with us to protect the values on which our state and country were built.”