Immigrant witnesses briefly barred from entering House office building
The state's immigration debate spilled into the lobby of the House Office Building in Annapolis Tuesday afternoon. As the House Judiciary Committee prepared to take up several immigration bills, about a dozen immigrants who planned to testify at the hearing were briefly blocked from entering the building.
Accompanied by representatives from CASA of Maryland, the men initially were stopped because they could not provide a government-issued photo identification card. The group turned to Montgomery Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D) to intervene.
As the men waited behind a rope line, there was much confusion about what type of photo identification state policy requires to enter public buildings. Gutierrez and other CASA representatives said that for at least 10 years they have been able to bring witnesses to testify at hearings and to meet with legislators with a CASA-issued photo ID card.
As recently as two weeks ago, Helen Melton, an advocacy specialist, said her colleague was able to enter with a group of students whose only identification came from CASA.
"Every time they hear CASA of Maryland, the rules seem to change on the spot," she said.
Alexandra Hughes, a spokesperson for House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) pointed to state regulations that require members of the public to present a government-issued photo ID. But the rules have apparently been applied inconsistently in the past, and Hughes said a memo was recently issued to reaffirm the requirement for a government-issued ID.
The conflict was quickly resolved Tuesday afternoon when an official from the Department of General Services told Gutierrez that the men would be allowed in the building for the afternoon if they could provide a valid photo ID and if she would vouch for them.
| February 15, 2011; 1:28 PM ET
Categories: Ann Marimow, General Assembly
Save & Share: Previous: Md. senator 'still praying' on same-sex marriage
Next: O'Malley moves against 'LLC loophole' that benefited his campaigns
Posted by: paravour | February 15, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: anderson2 | February 15, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: msdani94 | February 15, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: paravour | February 15, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kevin9 | February 15, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: wmpowellfan | February 15, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jeffreed | February 16, 2011 5:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: me231 | February 16, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: oddieferret | February 17, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse