Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has signed executive order prohibiting police officers from asking people they come in contact with about their immigration status.
“Police are working to make our city safe. We are not working as immigration agents,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.
The announcement comes just days after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it would begin implementing the Secure Communities program in Baltimore—the controversial federal program that sends booking information from local jails to a joint database shared by the FBI and ICE.
The order bars discrimination against immigrants, and bans the use of city funds to investigate or question people suspected of violating of federal immigration law unless required by the state or U.S. government, [according to WAMU.org](http://wamu.org/news/12/03/04/baltimore_mayor_against_questioning_citizenship_status)
The mayor’s order does not stop police from cooperating with federal agents in cases involving undocumented immigrants suspected of criminal activity.
Immigrant rights group welcomed the mayor’s announcement.
“We felt a wave of fear begin to envelope the community” when authorities made the Secure Communities announcement, Elizabeth Alex of Casa de Maryland told CBS Baltimore.
“With this announcement today, we’re hopeful communities will once again regain that trust of the police department, and continue to call them for help,” Alex said.