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Maryland State Immigration Laws

Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of immigration laws in Maryland. To understand any immigration-related issue, knowing the relationship between state and federal law is important. This relationship affects all areas of law and government. Federal law dictates most aspects of immigration. The states still have a significant say in how they enforce immigration laws.

In this article, you'll learn about the following immigration topics:

Law Enforcement and Immigration in Maryland

Although immigration and enforcement are typically handled by federal immigration authorities, an increasing number of local and county law enforcement officials are starting to help with, investigate, or pursue suspected immigration-related offenses.

A federal program once forced law enforcement officers to check arrestees' immigration statuses. It also required police to fingerprint arrestees. This program was "Secure Communities." Former President Donald Trump revived the program, which had expired in 2017. In 2021, President Joe Biden revoked the executive order.

Under the new program, only convicts' names go into this system. The new program is the "Criminal Apprehension Program." Information is shared with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It can also be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Employment Checks

Under federal law, employers should refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules. They should also refer to the requirements for Form I-9.

Maryland E-Verify Requirements

Maryland does not impose E-Verify requirements on state or local agencies. It also doesn't require that private employers use E-Verify to confirm the legal employment status of new hires.

Driver's License/ID Requirements

Applicants for driver's licenses in Maryland must show documents proving their identity, lawful presence in the country, Social Security number, and home address in the state.

Public Benefits Restrictions

Under federal law, immigrants living here illegally may not get public benefits. But they can get emergency services, health care, and other programs that are "necessary to protect life and safety."

Education Restrictions

Maryland allows qualifying immigrants without documentation to pay in-state tuition at state schools.

This benefit also extends to DACA recipients. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It protects eligible young adults from deportation after their parents brought them to the United States as children. It also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods. Those periods of work authorization are renewable.

U visa holders can also use these benefits. A U visa gives work authorization in the same way that a green card does. Victims of certain crimes, not just domestic violence, can get this type of visa. It is also available to family members of victims. To the children of victims, it offers special immigrant juvenile status, which gives lawful residence to children. Victims of crimes like human trafficking are also eligible for U visas. This visa can benefit victims tremendously as a celebration of human rights and civil rights.

Voter ID Rules

Maryland does not have state-issued voter ID requirements for voting. But legislative efforts to address voter ID are ongoing. In the meantime, baseline federal requirements for ID for first-time voters and registrants apply.

Housing Ordinances and Immigration

Laws in the state do not address whether landlords must check the immigration status of applicants and tenants.

Other Resources

  • Maryland Legal Aid — With this resource, you can find free or low-cost legal services
  • Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition — A non-profit organization that provides advocacy and other services to migrants. It can function as a legal service provider connecting you with an attorney while attorneys are also on staff. It can also provide interpreters if you do not speak English.
  • Esperanza Center — One of many Catholic charities in the state that offers services to immigrants and migrants. Those with disabilities can find resources beneficial to people struggling with such challenges.

Have Questions About Maryland Immigration Laws? Talk to an Attorney

Are your rights as an immigrant being respected? And just how much authority does the state have over immigration matters, which are within the federal government's jurisdiction? If you have questions like these, you may want to speak with an immigration attorney near you.

Legal services are integral to navigating the U.S. immigration system, whether you are a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen. If you can't afford an attorney, many lawyers work pro bono. Working on a pro bono basis means attorneys offer legal services free of charge. If you need referrals, contact the Maryland State Bar Association.

Perhaps you're an asylum seeker facing a possible deportation or fighting removal proceedings. Maybe you're just trying to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident. You might be pursuing visas for you and your family members. Immigration legal services are a priceless resource, even in your regular dealings with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Legal services can help any person having a hard time with immigration cases. They can help anyone appearing before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), as well. Any immigration court can be intimidating, and lawyers can help those in need of defense.

People without documentation are a vulnerable group, even without the difficulties the U.S. immigration system tends to pose. It's important to know your rights. Talk with an attorney today. Whether in Baltimore, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, or any other part of the state or Montgomery County, look for an attorney near you. If you can't afford an attorney, legal resources are still available. Consider contacting the non-profit organizations in Maryland or neighboring Washington, D.C., that offer free or low-cost legal services to low-income immigrants and migrants.

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