Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh issued a memorandum advising state and local law-enforcement agencies that they face legal liability exposure if they seek to enforce federal immigration laws. The opinion also advises local law enforcement not to hold individuals past their release dates on behalf of federal authorities unless they have a judicial warrant or probable cause that the subject of the detainer has committed a crime (distinguished from a civil immigration violation).³ As Attorney General, would you commit to issuing a similar advisory opinion within your first year in office?
ANSWER: needs study
I would commit to exploring the different issues raised above and issuing an advisory opinion on each. While I am very sympathetic with much of Attorney General Frosh’s reasoning, I would need to further study the issue before committing to the precise conclusions outlined above.
I share Attorney General Frosh’s view that in many areas of immigration law, unless our State law has specifically authorized cooperation with federal authorities, a locality would face legal liability exposure if they cooperated with such authorities. An example of such a practice, in my view, was El Paso County’s practices with respect to detainers of individuals held solely on the ground of a detainer request issued by ICE.
That said, the categorical statement that, in all circumstances, state and local law enforcement agencies face legal liability enforcing any immigration law is one I would have to study more carefully before I could commit to, since some forms of cooperation may have a legal basis.