Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Friday that the Baltimore City Detention Center would no longer automatically honor federal requests to detain immigrants for deportation, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. The move comes on the heels of a previous analysis performed by the Sun, which found that 40 percent of deportees had no previous criminal record, other than their illegal entry to the country. The new policy, announced by O'Malley, is intended to "reduce deportations of immigrants who do not have criminal records under a federal program called Secure Communities."
The Sun reports that the change will dramatically alter the types of people who are deported:
Under the new policy, which begins immediately, Baltimore will honor the requests only in cases in which an immigrant has been charged with or convicted of a felony, three or more misdemeanors or a "serious" misdemeanor — roughly those that Secure Communities was originally intended to target.
In explaining his decision, O'Malley, reportedly considering a 2016 presidential campaign, took aim at Republicans for their stance on immigration:
We will focus our efforts on complying with ICE detainers when there is an actual threat to the public's safety. No family should be ripped apart because the Republican Congress can't come to the table and reach a reasonable compromise on comprehensive immigration reform.
Under the new policy, detainees wanted only for their immigration are to be released "once they have satisfied the requirements of their pending charge."