The City of Baltimore, Maryland has been dealing with their fair share of budget problems lately, the same as many other municipalities. In their recently completed 2018 budget negotiations, they wound up having to make cuts so deep they eliminated funding for things like new street lights and trash cans. And all of that was happening at the same time as they struggled to fund law enforcement efforts aimed at tamping down their historic murder rate.

But somehow, in a bit of financial legerdemain, they came up with $100K to pay for attorneys for illegal aliens fighting deportation orders. There’s a lesson here about priorities somewhere, but I get the feeling that the City Council wouldn’t listen even if someone stopped by to brief them on it. (Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore’s spending panel is expected to approve $200,000 on Wednesday to pay for lawyers who will represent immigrants who are facing deportation.

The head of the mayor Catherine Pugh’s immigrant affairs office said the approval would allow the first lawyers to get work within weeks.

The money is scheduled to go before a vote of the Board of Estimates. Half of it is in the form of a grant from the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York nonprofit, and the other half is from the city’s coffers.

Citizens charged with crimes are entitled to a lawyer. Many legal services are available to legal immigrants who are here on visas or have green cards. But illegal aliens facing deportation don’t qualify for such advantages because they don’t pay into the system which supports those costs. Also, unless they’re accused of other crimes (in which case, they’ll still get an attorney) they’re not generally facing jail time. They’re being put out of the country because they don’t belong here and are supposed to be removed. They either have a legal right to be here (which can be quickly proven with the applicable documents) or they don’t. We really don’t need to call in Hercule Poirot on this mystery.

With all the problems Baltimore is trying to wrestle to the ground (and actually making some progress on lately, much to their credit), is this really where you want to be expending your energy and resources? Too many illegal aliens wind up involved in gang violence and Charm City already has more than enough of that. They also tax the city’s resources in a place where the safety net is already strained to the point of rupture.

And how about jobs? While the state of Maryland overall has done fairly well in taming the unemployment problem, the City of Baltimore is still running at nearly 6%. Worse still, the unemployment rate among black residents is up around ten percent. Shouldn’t you be interested in cutting the illegal competition for jobs, particularly by those who are willing to undercut wages and work for less under the table?

But in the end, if you’re assigning these attorneys to fight deportation orders, that means that ICE has already looked into the matter and the individuals in question are here illegally. Why would you be fighting their removal? There’s no question that they don’t belong here. Shouldn’t your first loyalty be to the citizens of your city? Not to put to fine of a point on it, but… seriously.