Thank you for the opportunity to speak here this evening. My name is Amie Hoeber, and I am a candidate for Congress in the 6th District of Maryland, which includes Frederick City and the southern part of Frederick County. If voters give me the privilege to represent them in Congress, I will take an oath of office next January which states in part that “….I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
As part of my responsibilities under this oath, I cannot sit silently by while some try to deny us one of our most effective law enforcement tools – the capabilities of law enforcement officials who have full authority to act together to keep us safe.
Let us be very clear on this point: the sheriff’s office of Frederick County and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of Homeland Security (ICE) have the same objective – to keep all Frederick County residents safe, no matter what their ethnicity or country of origin.
ICE is not the enemy, as some would have you believe. Law enforcement at both the local and the federal levels is focused on the same goal – to protect us from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
No one questions the obligation of the sheriff’s deputies to arrest law breakers. What SOME people question is what do you do with them once detained? Those people argue that you must NOT ask whether the law-breakers are U.S. citizens or, if they are not, whether or not they are here legally.
Further, those who believe you cannot ask an accused law-breaker any of these questions also argue that if it the accused is NOT here legally, that you must NOT tell the federal authorities, no matter how serious the crime is that they are accused of committing. This sequence of thought just doesn’t make any sense.
The 287(g) program is very clear about what powers the federal government is delegating to local law enforcement. I’ve reviewed the Memorandum of Agreement between ICE and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. It specifically deals ONLY with persons “in jail/correctional facilities” – that is, people who have ALREADY been incarcerated for the commission of a crime. Further, it expressly prohibits discrimination based upon “race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency).”
What the Memorandum of Agreement does is effectively combine the efforts of both local and federal law enforcement to rid our communities of some of the most vicious criminals ever, such as the members of violent gangs such as MS-13. Recent newspaper articles have detailed the extreme brutality this particular gang employs. As recently as this past Tuesday morning the Washington Post published an article about MS-13 having spread into a specific middle school here in Maryland, making it unsafe for students and faculty alike.
Fortunately for Frederick County, Sheriff Jenkins has leveraged his office’s capabilities and has added a layer of security for the citizens of Frederick County by working with federal authorities through the 287 (g) program. And, any costs he incurs in doing so can be billed to the federal government. Thus, the security the 287 (g) program has added comes without added cost for Frederick taxpayers.
My friends, either we are serious about protecting our freedoms AND our safety or we are not. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be free of fear and danger and at the same time support the release of known criminals back into the community arguing that while they broke this law maybe they won’t break another law. That’s simply not reasonable.
I’m running for Congress for the same reason I suspect Mr. Jenkins runs for sheriff: to “support and defend the Constitution” and, in so doing, keep our homes and families safe. That’s a tough job and we need to use all the tools we can find to accomplish it. We need all the allies we can get and that’s why I offer my strong support to the 287 (g) program and to Sheriff Jenkins and his implementation of that program.