Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and Council President Nancy Navarro Friday said in a joint statement news reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be conducting raids had generated “concern, fear and disruption in our communities.”
They emphasized that Montgomery County law enforcement agencies don’t ask about immigration status, and that they don’t conduct immigration raids or investigations.
Attorney Edward Neufville, whose Silver Spring, Maryland, practice includes immigration law, said he’s been getting more calls since the media reports that ICE would be conducting raids. People who have until now, tried to navigate the immigration system themselves are suddenly calling, asking for advice and clarification of the process, he said.
Neufville also said those who have legal status are increasingly alarmed, worried that an unforeseen glitch could occur: “I’ve had green card holders call and say ‘I’m about to apply for my citizenship, is there anything I should be worried about?’”
In other cases, he said, clients who have legal status and wanted to begin the naturalization process are choosing to wait.
Neufville said it’s not uncommon to find that a client has been the victim of poor legal advice, or that there’s been a foul-up in the paperwork that can pile up in immigration cases.
“Once you look into their cases, either you realize that the previous lawyers that they used didn’t do the proper work, or that notices were sent to wrong address,” he said.
Police in Montgomery County have issued statements in the past, explaining that they will enforce criminal warrants, but not administrative warrants. Prince George’s County police have also taken a similar position, announcing that they’ve trained their officers in the difference between those documents.