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Friday, January 18, 2008

Taneytown Makes the Right Decision

Connie Castanera

Taneytown, Maryland's Councilman Paul Chamberlain Jr. worked hard to convince as many people as possible that passing a resolution stating that Taneytown is "not a sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants would be beneficial for the relatively small town of about 5,000 residents.

I first heard about his proposal the beginning of December 2007, at which time I decided to call him. I was interested in discussing the negative impact that such a resolution would have on the community and surrounding areas. See my early December article featuring this issue:

What good could come from Councilman Chamberlain's proposal? Taneytown has very few immigrant residents. Out of those few, how many are here without proper documentation? Out of those, how many are truly here illegally? Someone's legal status is not easily determined. It takes time and resources to make an accurate determination.

I can assure you that many people who "look Hispanic" are concerned because they live in fear of being stopped by the police. They are fearful not because they have violated any laws, but because they "look Hispanic" and fear being stopped, harassed, and detained needlessly. Many stories are being circulated within the Hispanic community (mostly in Frederick County) about those who have allegedly been stopped and searched, simply because of the color of their skin and their appearance. Is that fair? Is that the way we want our residents to feel? Is that what this country is about? I think not.

Monday evening, January 14, 2008, in a 3 to 2 vote opposing Councilman Chamberlain's resolution, Taneytown made the right decision. Congratulations to Mayor Pro Tem Jacquelyn J. Boisvert, Councilman Angelo A. Zambetti, and Councilman Henry C. Heine Jr., all of whom voted to oppose Chamberlain's resolution. It should be noted that Councilman Carl E. Ebaugh joined Chamberlain in support of the ill-fated resolution.

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