Montgomery County Hiring Immigration Attorney to Protest Policy Changes

(ESPAÑOL) Montgomery County, Maryland, is preparing itself with legal counsel. In preparation of legal and political challenges posed by Trump’s immigration policy changes, the county will hire the former director of immigration for the Department of Homeland Security as special counsel.

The official in question, Leon Rodriguez, also happened to serve as a Montgomery County attorney from 2007 to 2010. Most recently, he was the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Obama administration, the agency charged with administering all immigration policies.

Leon Rodriguez is the grandson of Jewish refugees who escaped to Cuba from European anti-semitism. His parent’s then moved to Miami in 1961. Rodriguez has cited his family’s story as a source of understanding for the desperation which many immigrants feel.

This is a measure being taken by the county in anticipation of a tumultuous future between itself and its large foreign-born population. The county wants to avoid being targeted by federal enforcement while still maintaining trust in its school system and other public institutions.

Nearby Arlington has followed suit, where the public school system has recently retained the D.C.-based Hogan Lovells law firm to provide advice as needed for immigration matters. Meanwhile, the Rockville City Council held a public hearing Monday evening on a proposal to adopt limits on the cooperation that police and other city officials extend to immigration authorities.

Meanwhile, Montgomery’s county attorney Marc Hansen scrambles to write up amendments by the city council in response to the Maryland Trust Act, which is before the state’s General Assembly. The bill would seriously restrict the state’s cooperation with federal authorities. Montgomery County seeks to realign the bill closer to the county’s own moderate policies.

However, local supporters of Trump’s immigration policies criticize the county’s hiring of legal advice, mostly due to the added expenditure for what might not be an issue unless the county defies federal immigration law and state legislation.