Although local elections may be dismissed by the mainstream media, the choices facing voters on Tuesday in states across America will impact the direction of immigration policy and, in some cases, truly deal with life and death issues.
Hyperbole? Just consider the stakes in Oregon, the first state in the nation to enact a sanctuary law. With Measure 105 on the ballot, voters have a chance to repeal a law which has hampered law enforcement’s ability to protect communities from dangerous criminal aliens since 1987.
Is it really a life and death choice? It was reported that the choice of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office not to honor an ICE detainer resulted in the release of illegal alien Martin Gallo-Gallardo, who subsequently murdered his wife before dumping her body in a ditch.
The case is not an outlier. The sanctuary afforded criminal aliens by Oregon’s elected officials, in particular sheriffs in urban counties, has proven deadly on other circumstances as well.
The level to which sheriffs’ cooperate with ICE is at issue in Wake County, North Carolina, where incumbent Republican Donnie Harrison is seeking re-election. Harrison’s strong support of the 287(g) program, which allows local and state law enforcement to form partnerships with ICE, has drawn the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They even have financed a $100,000 advertisement opposing his candidacy.
His rival, Democrat Gerald Baker said he would eliminate the program, which allows local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE.
The future of the 287(g) program in four Maryland counties – Anne Arundel, Frederick, Harford, and Washington – could be decided on Tuesday in races that mostly pit Republican supporters of strong enforcement against Democratic candidates who want to eliminate the agreements.
In Washington County, Maryland, Republican challenger Brian Albert is trying to unseat Sheriff Doug Mullendore, a Democrat, who opposes joining the 287 (g) program because, he told the HubCityPost.com, “it is not economically viable to establish the Program at this time in Washington County.
The outcome of all of these races are certain to impact the direction sanctuary policy takes in those states and across the nation.
Jennifer G. Hickey writes for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.