Fear in a Welcoming City: Baltimore's Immigration Policy | WYPR

Fear in a Welcoming City: Baltimore's Immigration Policy

Credit Courtesy of Reuters

Today, we examine the realities of being an immigrant in Baltimore in the Trump Era.  President Trump has called for the immediate deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, commonly known as illegal aliens.  Mr. Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, have made immigration enforcement a priority. Plans continue for a wall of unprecedented scale all along the U.S.-Mexico border.  And the Department of Justice has threatened to withhold federal funds from so-called "sanctuary cities" -- municipalities where local police authorities do not check the immigration status of people who are stopped for other reasons, or who are seeking public services.

Baltimore is not a sanctuary city.  It is, however, a "welcoming" city, according to Mayor Catherine Pugh. Indeed, it is a city with a long history of welcoming immigrants.

So, what’s it like to be a foreign-born worker, and an illegal alien, in Baltimore today?  Has the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric led to harsher treatment of foreign-born workers? In this hour, we’ll hear the stories of two local workers who fear deportation.  And we’ll ask experts on both sides of the issue to weigh in about whether, and how much, law enforcement toward illegal workers has changed under the current administration.

Joining Midday are two Baltimore residents who are working here under various circumstances. Neither one is a citizen.  Neither is working legally.  Both are paying taxes and one of them even owns her own business and employs nine other people.  We are calling them Pedro and Lisa.  They each came from Latin America many years ago.  Each of them has children, and each fears what will happen to those children if they are deported.

Attorney Jill Bussey joins the conversation in Studio A. Bussey is the advocacy director for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., known as CLINIC, a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations that offer immigration legal services.

And Hans von Spakovsky joins us on the line from The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Foundation's Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.