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March 23, 2017

Sanctuary Law and Disorder

Harry M. Covert

Will oaths of office have meaning any longer other than mere words? Certainly words, whether printed or verbal, have consequences, as do elections, particularly at the federal level.


Maryland's House of Delegates voted to create a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants. It is despicable and would open more doors for other lawbreakers. The bill goes to the State Senate.


The Annapolis political battle reaches unprecedented proportions between the Democratically-controlled legislature, the Republican minority and Gov. Larry Hogan.


The governor immediately said he would veto such a bill should it reach his desk. The matter won't end here.


Why are oaths so important? Generally local, state and federal officials swear and, sometimes affirm, to support, defend and uphold the Constitutions of the United States, the state of Maryland, local ordinances and obey leaders.


Law enforcement officers of all jurisdictions, state's attorneys, judges, community government leaders, all give their words of honor, right hands raised and left hand on a Bible.


The sanctuary madness puts law enforcement in delicate and precarious situations.


What laws will be enforced? Under provisions of the proposed law in Annapolis, sworn sheriff's deputies and police won't be able to query people about their passport, legal residencies or national origin. Nor will officers be allowed to notify federal authorities about possible illegal aliens, (nee immigrants) who've sneaked into the U.S. without credentials.


There may be an exemption in Frederick County. Explanation coming.


Oaths should have meaning. Questions? What laws will be enforced? Which laws are too large or too small?


For certain, local and state laws do not supersede federal laws. To think Maryland can get away with such a boondoggle for political posturing is nothing short of risky business and could be financially devastating.


Legislators, who think they can get away with ignoring federal laws, are foolhardy and risk serious repercussions – billions of dollars could be removed from state grants. Think that won't happen in this day of presidential and congressional changing of the guard? It most certainly will.


Frederick County State's Attorney J. Charles Smith III said any sanctuary state "will not supersede federal law. The states have no such authority."


Further, Mr. Smith said "states cannot override federal code."


Sworn police have no right to ignore the law. He added: "they can choose not to enforce it. They have no obligation to enforce federal laws...and can ignore them from an enforcement perspective."


Frederick County works under agreement to enforce federal law, especially under the 287(g) immigration program, one of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's top partnership initiatives.


The State's Attorney's Frederick County office will continue to prosecute any state law criminal. Mr. Smith emphasized: "I choose to notify federal authorities of immigration status," of those who come before our local courts.


Perhaps state legislators need a refresher course in the law. Their oaths require that they uphold and enforce the U.S. Constitution and then the state Constitution. To allow any person in the country illegally, or a legal resident, to violate laws is improper and in itself illegal.


Frederick County deputy sheriffs take this oath:


"I _______do swear (or affirm) under the penalties of perjury, that I will support the Constitution of the United States: and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and Laws thereof; and that I will, to the best of my skill and judgment, diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice execute the office of _______according to the Constitution and Laws of the State and I will not for lucre and malice delay any person applying to me for any business belonging to the office I officiate in and that I will not directly or indirectly ask, take, exact, demand, or receive from or charge to any such person to my own use any fee or reward whatsoever for any service I may do as Deputy if the said office and that in making out the fees I will not wittingly or willingly charge other or higher fees than are allowed by law.


"Sworn to and subscribed before me on the date indicated below."


Frederick City Police have this oath:


"Do you,___________________, solemnly swear that you will faithfully execute the office of police officer for City of Frederick, and will to the best of your ability, without favor or partiality, bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America and The State of Maryland; that you will honestly and faithfully uphold and defend the Constitutions the United States and the State of Maryland; that you will enforce the laws of the State of Maryland and the Charter and Ordinances of the City of Frederick; that you will adhere to the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics; and that you will obey the orders of the Mayor and the members of the Department appointed over you according to the General Orders of the department."


Yes, oaths mean exactly what they say and cannot be taken lightly.


Federal immigration laws set the rules. Violators are not in good standing. It's not harsh to enforce laws. It's the rule of law that protects The Public. A sanctuary jurisdiction, state or otherwise, is faux and deadly.


(First in this two-part series.)


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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