While County residents have fought against this, and County Council passed a resolution in Nov. asking for Schuh not to implement it, Schuh went forward anyway.
This week, County Executive Steve Schuh, a multi-millionaire restaurant owner who relies on poor immigrant laborers to staff his restaurants, received final approval to participate in a program to imprison members of that community in exchange for money. County detention officers will now be sent to South Carolina to become trained ICE agents.
Locking up immigrants for money is human trafficking. It is a sick and costly human rights violation against families in Anne Arundel County. It also hurts businesses who rely on immigrant labor. So why is County Executive Schuh so gung-ho?
While County Executive Steve Schuh has lived in Anne Arundel County, he’s enjoyed the many things our bountiful bayside region has bestowed upon us. He probably also enjoys seafood brought to us by a robust population of undocumented immigrant workers.
I’m sure he knows, because Schuh is a restaurant owner himself. With a couple of partners, including Anne Arundel County Council member Derek J. Fink, Schuh owns GT Mid-States, which operates several area Roy Rogers, Green Turtle, and Blackwall Hitch locations. In almost all restaurants in Anne Arundel County (and around the country), undocumented workers, working using other people’s Social Security numbers and paying payroll tax but getting nothing in return, do everything from clean bathrooms to make your omelets on Sunday morning. All restaurant owners know this. In fact, President Trump’s first nominee for labor secretary, fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder, admitted that up to 40 percent of his workers were undocumented. Forty percent.
One would think Schuh would appreciate all the good things that our robust immigrant labor force has brought to our county, and the money they’ve put into his pocket. Apparently, what overrides his appreciation is his sucking up to Trump and the White House’s economically ill-advised and inhumane policies.
Schuh is ready to tear apart families, terrify communities and attack the very businesses and companies he is supposed to serve. Even worse, he’s using my tax dollars and yours to do so. Even though the program promises to pay the county to fill beds with “detainees,” the program will end up costing the county money and has already been shut down in other jurisdictions around the country because of its ineffectiveness. Schuh is one of only 37 elected officials in the nation who has decided to turn their peace officers on their own nonviolent residents by deputizing some county corrections officials to act as federal immigration officers.
I have lived in Anne Arundel County since 1998. I have never had a problem with an undocumented member of our community, nor has anyone I know. On the contrary, I appreciate the roads they build as part of construction teams. I enjoy the food that comes from our great restaurants’ kitchens. I love the delicious seafood coming from the fisheries of Maryland. This is a labor force we need here in Anne Arundel County.
We like our way of life just fine. We should find a way to keep our awesome workforce here and healthy, not to deport them.
An earlier version of this editorial appeared in the Washington Post.
Vicky Bruce is an author and editor of the Arundel Patriot. She lives in Riva.
Comments? See our Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/arundelpatriot/posts/349925655427293.
Like reading the Arundel Patriot? Please donate and help us with our mission to bring excellent community journalism to Anne Arundel County!
The County resolution asking Schuh not to implement the 287g without Council involvement and discussion can be viewed here.here.