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Howard Co. Council Approves Decision To Become Immigrant 'Sanctuary'

COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) -- Howard County Council has approved a controversial sanctuary county bill in a 3-2 vote. The bill will now go to County Executive Allan Kittleman. However, Kittleman has already said that he will veto any such bill.

"We are trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn't exist," he says.

Under the sanctuary bill, police could not ask about someone's immigration status or work with federal agents to get information about it.

Monday night the Howard County Council approved a bill that would prohibit authorities from asking people about their immigration status.
The bill was approved by just a single vote.

Decisions like this have drawn rebuke from President Trump.  Just last week, President Trump signed an executive order that would withhold federal money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.

Howard County now joins Baltimore City, Prince George's and Montgomery county, which have made similar changes to shield illegal immigrants.
But some believe this move will put a financial burden on the county if federal funding is taken away for the decision.
This bill squeaked through with just one vote, but for those who thought the fight was over, there may be more to come.
"I'm just glad. I am just very happy that this passed," says Diana Ali.

People rallied on both sides of the issue of whether or not Howard County will be a "Sanctuary County."

Supporters believe that undocumented immigrants should not be fearful to go to the police and that they should feel like they are part of the community.

RELATED: Over A Thousand Gather To Support Howard Co. Becoming 'Sanctuary County'

Opponents to the bill have been worried about the loss of federal funds and cooperating with federal law enforcement.

Now before this bill passed, the council added some changes. Of particular concern, they wanted to ensure that police have the authority to go after illegal activity.
Councilman Calvin Ball was one of the sponsors who had to answer to some of the people who voted for him.
"There are always going to be those who disagree. And hopefully, we can disagree without being disagreeable," says Councilman Ball.
"So what happens is that those that are here legally and are paying their taxes legally are going to be hit with higher taxation. That's not a very good thing," says Howard County resident Frank Mirabile.
Councilman Greg Fox voted against the bill. He says he supports immigration as long as it's not illegal.
"We would love to help, everybody, you can't," says Councilman Fox.
The County Executive has pledged to veto this bill. Once the County Executive receives that bill he has 10 days to make a decision on if he will veto it.
If County Executive Allan Kittleman does veto, it will then go back to the council and those who voted for the bill will need to get at least one more person to move over to their side.

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