The Baltimore County Council on June 5 tabled action on taking up a federal program which would have required corrections officers at the county’s detention center to determine the immigration status of detainees.

The council voted 5-2 to table action on a program established under Section 287g of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, which also would have given the Department of Homeland Security authority to deputize state and local law enforcement agents to act as immigration officers. Baltimore County Councilmen Todd K. Crandell (R-District 7) and Wade Kach (R-District 3) were the only two to vote against tabling the measure.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (Courtesy Photo/baltimorecountymd.gov)

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz staunchly opposed his jurisdiction joining Frederick and Harford counties in taking up the federal program. Anne Arundel County has applied for approval to join the program, but faces opposition from the ACLU of Maryland, which has created a petition requesting the county to withdraw its application.

Kamenetz had threatened to veto any county bill seeking entry into the program. An executive order issued by Kamenetz in April bars the detaining of any county inmate past their scheduled release date for reasons connected to their immigration status.

“The Council’s action affirms support for my Executive Order, a responsible and public safety policy that protects the rights of individuals,” Kamenetz wrote in a tweet following the county vote. “The misguided policy was more about spreading Donald Trump’s divisive policies to our country than doing what is best for our residents.”

The legislation could have cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually for the additional detainment of inmates based on their immigration status, as well as costs connected to potential lawsuits against the county for the unlawful detainment.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, at the time of last November’s general election, 56 percent of Baltimore County residents were registered as Democrats. Under the 2010 census, just 4.2 percent of the county’s 805,029 residents identified themselves as being Hispanic or Latino.