Over the past few years, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency developed a controversial reputation for itself. One of the most divisive points is the use of detention centers and the conditions people face when residing in these areas. Some Americans have even compared them to concentration camps.
Subsequently, many cities, counties and states continue to explore initiatives to limit ICE operations in their jurisdictions. The Wall Street Journal reports that Maryland, California and Washington all form part of the growing list of states taking action. California, for instance, successfully prevented the development of two new detention centers at the local level.
Current state in Maryland
According to the Washington Post, three ICE detention centers already exist in the state of Maryland. These exist in the counties of Worcester, Howard and Frederick. ICE also reportedly had plans to further expand into the state. It reportedly posted an ad, asking for interested parties to run a new center within 50 miles of Baltimore with the capability to hold up to 800 people.
Initiatives to fight ICE detention centers
Lawmakers subsequently began working on a bill that would prevent private entities from running detention centers in Maryland. The state also has the ambitious goal of phasing out the detention centers currently in the state by the fall of 2021. Not surprisingly, the lawmakers intend to model this bill off the one California used in its efforts to achieve a similar goal.
ICE maintains that it intends to provide secure and humane housing for detainees. However, many people believe that this cannot hold true if the agency continues to detain people when existing centers already show signs of overcapacity.