Frederick County Maryland’s reputation for cracking down on illegal immigration has drawn the ire of pro-illegal alien groups and prompted one to name County Board President Blaine Young to its “Hall of Shame” for 2012. But that reputation has not hurt the area’s business climate or Young’s political prospects. The County adopted its first enforcement measure in 2007 when Sheriff Chuck Jenkins enrolled in the federal 287(g) program. That program, which empowers local police to take an active role in the deportation of illegal aliens, contributed to the deportation of more than 1,000 illegal aliens. It also put Frederick County on the radar screen of illegal-alien advocacy groups.In 2011, Sheriff Jenkins worked with President Young and other Commissioners to develop a package of immigration-enforcement measures. One measure pushed that year would have established police immigration status checks under limited circumstances but it failed to gain approval.The package, re-introduced this year by President Young, included a requirement for businesses to use E-Verify and an illegal-alien rental ban. Although President Blaine did not have the votes to pass the immigration enforcement measures, he was able to pass an ordinance establishing English as the official County language. Immigrants’ List, a pro-illegal alien political action committee, called the proposals “xenophobic” and named Young to its “Hall of Shame” on May 31st. The group’s 2012 lineup includes Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Maricopa County Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others. Upon learning he was on the list, Young’s reaction to a reporter was, “Wow … looks like a good class of people…It amuses me. I’m not anti-immigration, but we have an illegal alien issue.”In its May 31st news release, Immigrants’ List said that Young’s “extreme policies hurt local business owners and waste taxpayer dollars while he earns the support of fringe special interest groups…Blaine Young’s unprecedented expansion of county government into immigration policy is hurting Frederick County’s working families and making the community a harder place to do business.” But a local reporter following up on the story discovered that the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce has not raised any concerns on behalf of its members. Chamber president Ric Adams said, “We understand the concerns of the Immigrants’ List PAC, but haven’t heard from any of our members regarding immigration issues or the county’s immigration policies impacting their businesses.”Young says the County’s pro-enforcement stance has not hurt business growth as Immigrants’ List suggests. “The proof’s not in the pudding,” Young said. “Since 287(g) went in effect, we deported 1,000 aliens who committed crimes and that hasn’t hurt us in business or growth … [that program] is one they are most critical and most fearful of, and that hasn’t had any effect on business.”Young, who kicked off his campaign this week for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, doesn’t think the designation will hurt his prospects. “It obviously puts me on the radar screen,” Young said. “I don’t know if it will help me, but it won’t hurt me.” Young has received a lot of supportive emails from people across the state since being named to the list. He said that the illegal immigration issue crosses party lines, as indicated by the “tremendous number of Democrats who signed the petition for a referendum to repeal the Dream Act giving children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates.”Visit here for more information.
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