Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Joint Statement Reaffirming Community Values

The Montgomery County Executive and the Montgomery County Council issued the following joint statement reaffirming community values:

Montgomery County is committed to building and maintaining a safe and inclusive community for our residents. Understanding, tolerance, and respect are hallmarks of the Montgomery County way. Social justice for all is what we strive to achieve in our County. 

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

It is longstanding County policy that County police do not enforce federal immigration law. Neither will they inquire about immigration status when individuals are stopped nor target individuals based on their ethnicity, race, or religious beliefs. 

The County’s law enforcement leaders are also committed to our values, and they will continue working to build trust in our community. Police Chief Tom Manger, Corrections and Rehabilitation Director Rob Green, Sheriff Darren Popkin, and State’s Attorney John McCarthy are sworn to protect the rights of all residents and to treat all individuals equally.  

Your County leaders stand ready to take the steps necessary to defend our values and maintain the integrity of our community. Executive orders are not self-executing. They require additional actions by federal agencies to be implemented.  In addition, executive orders are subject to public scrutiny and legal challenges.  

Montgomery County has a long history of working to promote community safety and trust among its residents regardless of their culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. In 2011 the Council passed a resolution to promote public trust in government and law enforcement to ensure that that the federal Secure Communities initiative was implemented consistent with its stated purpose. 

In November 2016, the Council approved a resolution reaffirming community safety and trust and denouncing anti-immigrant activity, racial bias, and discrimination. Also in November, the County Executive initiated solidarity with our friends and neighbors from all walks of life at the “Stand Up for the Montgomery Way” rally, which was a strong and broadly shared public declaration of our collective values.   

Montgomery County remains steadfast in its commitment to fairness, justice, and equal treatment under the law. We believe that no deportations should take place without ensuring that individuals to be deported receive adequate representation and due process of law under the Constitution.  Regardless of immigration status, we will uphold the Fourth Amendment rights of our residents.  

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.       

Residents who are in need of legal resources or support services are encouraged to dial 311 for help or visit the MC311 web page at: http://www3.montgomerycountymd.gov/311/Home.aspx.

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