Rockville City Council Expected To Vote on Immigration Ordinance Monday

Ordinance would codify existing policy that asks the city’s police officers not to inquire about a person’s immigration status


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City Council members Virginia Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr, Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, and City Council members Beryl Feinberg and Mark Pierzchala

City of Rockville

The Rockville City Council is scheduled to vote on a controversial ordinance Monday that would codify its existing policy that prevents city police or other city employees from enforcing federal immigration regulations.

The City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Rockville City Hall.

The ordinance would codify the policy by amending the city’s code to add a new section called “Fostering Community Trust.” City officials have said it’s not a “sanctuary city” policy because the city will continue to share with federal authorities the immigration status of people who are arrested by city officers.

City Council member Julie Palakovich Carr, who sponsored the ordinance, told Bethesda Beat last month that she believes the measure will pass the council.

More than 75 people testified about the proposed ordinance during a March 7 public hearing when about half the speakers supported the ordinance, while the other half—many of which were Asian Americans who had obtained their U.S. citizenship—were against the change.

Opponents said the change could make Rockville a target for criminals—such as gang members affiliated with the El Salvadoran gang MS-13 that has been linked to several killings in the county over the past two years. Opponents also said the county should be supporting the legal citizenship process rather than shielding people who entered the country illegally.

Supporters said the measure will enhance public safety by ensuring that undocumented immigrants feel comfortable reporting crimes and communicating with Rockville police officers.

Several immigrant-rights and progressive groups such as the Rockville Resistance, the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition and Do the Most Good Montgomery County plan to attend the meeting in support of the ordinance.

Members of the public can share their thoughts about the measure during the community forum portion of the meeting that starts at 7:20 p.m. The council asks those who wish to speak to call the city clerk’s office at 240-314-8280 to sign up before the meeting.

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