From Christopher C. Boardman, candidate for Harford County Sheriff:
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler tried to recruit the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to participate
in Gahler’s effort to round up immigrants for deportation back to their countries of origin, according to a letter obtained that
Sheriff Gahler wrote in November 2016, shortly after the election of Donald Trump.
Gahler was quick to point out that the program was initiated under President Barack Obama, adding that the program is one that “crosses old and tiresome political lines.”
Gahler told the late Baltimore County executive that he “was pleased to add our jurisdiction to a list of counties embracing the Delegation of Authority Program” directed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Harford Sheriff touted the county’s effort “to identify those individuals who have committed crimes within Harford County and who are in this Country illegally for possible deportation, once they fulfill their obligation to the State of Maryland.
“As the Baltimore County Department of Corrections falls under your Office, I invite you to join the effort to identify those non-law abiding individuals who are in our Country illegally and those who pose a real and credible threat to public safety and even to our national security…criminals do not recognize our jurisdictional boundaries and making Baltimore County safer makes Harford County safer,” reasoned Gahler.
Since signing an agreement with I.C.E. , Harford County correctional deputies have been doing I.C.E.’s work in the detention center at local taxpayers’ expense without approval by the Harford County Council. A spokeswoman for the sheriff referred all questions about I.C.E. detainees to the Office of Public Affairs in Washington D.C. When called as suggested , the I.C.E. office refused to answer and did not return a message requesting information.
I.C.E. and the Trump Administration recently came under fire for the forceful separation of more than 2,500 children from parents applying for entry as immigrants. More than 2,000 of these children still remain separated from their parents a week after Trump reversed his order for separation. Some of the parents have already returned to their homes in Central America without reuniting with their children while other parents remain in detention facilities (jail) in the U.S. while their children remain alone in other facilities In most cases the parents don’t know where their children are housed. The new task force at the Dept. of Health and Human Services formed to reunite the immigrant children with their parents has not accomplished much since the forced separations were not initiated with any plans to reverse them.
So far Sheriff Gahler has not apologized for getting Harford residents or correctional deputies involved in such a poorly planned exercise that promises to have such detrimental effects on young children and their parents. Nor has the sheriff offered any solutions on how to correct the problems caused by his friend, Acting I.C.E. Director Thomas Homan and others in the Trump Administration such as Stephen Miller and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, the latter of whom is forcing Homan out of his position. Sheriff Gahler has insisted that Acting Director Homan is retiring and was not ousted.
Some Members of Congress are so disgusted with I.C.E. that they want to do away with the agency altogether. Rep. Marc Pocan (D.-Wis.) announced after a return from a trip to inspect facilities in Texas that he is now looking into abolishing I.C.E.