Yesterday, lawmakers voted to make Hyattsville, Maryland a sanctuary jurisdiction for illegal immigrants. Listen as Larry spoke with Council Member Patrick A. Paschall about Hyattsville’s new sanctuary status.
During the interview, O’Connor asked what inspired Hyattsville to become a sanctuary city:
O’Connor: As you know, President Barack Obama was regarded as the Deporter-In-Chief by some circles. He never hesitated to talk about how he had such an incredible record for deporting more people than any other President. So why didn’t you enforce this sanctuary city law during the 4 years you were there when the Deporter-In-Chief was deporting illegal immigrants like a mad man?
Paschall: Well first off, the sanctuary city policy that we passed is just a conification of our existing practices that already have our Hyattsville local police officers not engaging in federal immigration enforcement activities or asking anyone about their immigration status.
O’Connor: So why did you need to codify it now? Isn’t this really about getting attention and publicity and making a political statement in the era of President Trump?
Paschall: Well first off, it is true that President Trump has openly targeted immigrants and in fact put out an executive order trying to target sanctuary cities except there are no teeth to the executive order because it doesn’t do anything different to current federal law. And we don’t violate current federal law. There is no federal law that imposes any obligation on local law enforcement to do federal immigration enforcement activities. And this law doesn’t change or contravene federal law in any shape or form.
O’Connor: There is a U.S. Code Section 1373 that says, a federal, state or local government, Hyattsville would be a local government, or official may not prohibit or in any way restrict any government entity or official from sending to or receiving from the immigration and naturalization service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status lawful or unlawful of any individual. So haven’t you now prohibited law enforcement officials who work in Hyattsville from sending that information to ICE. There is a federal law that keeps you from doing that.
Paschall: No, we haven’t in fact or legislation explicitly says that we do not violate U.S. C 1373 or U.S. C 1644, which is a similar provision….
O’Connor: Well just because your law says you don’t violate it… tell me how you don’t violate it because I’ll read it again. Local government entities or officials may not prohibit in any way or restrict any government entity or official from sending to or receiving from the immigration and naturalization service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status lawful or unlawful of any individual.
Paschall: We make no restriction on the behavior or communication behavior of our employees in any shape or form. All this legislation does, it says that you can’t use local taxpayer resources in order to do that. You can’t use our computers, you can’t use or phones, you can’t use our police officers because it make sense…
O’Connor: Wait. Hold on. It says a lot more than that. This is your law that you passed, “No official or employee may inquire into an individual’s citizenship or immigration status”. Hold on, Hold on. “If an official or employee learns of an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, the official or employee may not act based solely on the individual’s citizenship or immigration status.”