Frederick County Council Votes To Bring Back Immigrant Affairs Commission

Its goal is to meet the unique needs of the local immigrant community.

Frederick, Md (KM) In a six-to-one vote on Tuesday, the Frederick County Council approved a resolution to re-authorize the Immigrant Affairs Commission. The IAC was established in 2021, but was only expected to last two years. It was required to issue a report before it disbanded.

The motion to approve bringing back the IAC was made by Council Vice President Kavonte Duckett. “I would hope that going forward if we did apply these sunset periods, that when the boards and commissions do try to engage  with us  for dialog and for response on some of the work they are doing, that we as a body interact with them,” he said.

Councilwoman M.C. Keegan-Ayer echoed that recommendation. :”This Council, unlike the Board of County Commissioners, doesn’t have that kind of interaction with the boards and commissions on a regular basis. If there is no report issued, we don’t really know what  the boards and commissions are up to.   I would encourage us to actually engage in that kind of dialog ,”she said.

The IAC’s task is to meet the unique needs and concerns  of  the immigrant community which is growing, according to the background materials provided for the meeting. The commission also plays a role in “promoting cultural exchange, and assisting immigrants in accessing county services and contribute to the overall social cohesion of the county,” the background materials say.

Councilman Mason Carter voted against the resolution. “I believe the affairs of our immigrant community are the affairs of Frederick County. We are a very diverse county in a very diverse state.  I don’t see a point in making those affairs separate by any means,” he says.

Council President Brad Young said he agrees that the affairs of the immigrant community are the  affairs of Frederick County. “But immigrants do have special needs, and really need to be acclimated into a part of the community. I think that this commission has helped that and will continue to do so,” he said.

Now that the Immigrant Affairs Commission is back, Councilman Jerry Donald urged interested citizens to apply to serve on the IAC, or any other board or commission. . “If you’re interested enough to watch our meetings, you may be interested enough to be on a board or commission, and you would be doing your fellow citizens a lot of good,” he says.

The County has had some problems finding members to fill the slots on many of its boards and commissions.

By Kevin McManus