The Maryland Republican Party has begun an ad campaign targeting Indian American congressional candidate Aruna Miller, a Democrat who currently serves in the state’s House of Delegates, for supporting a bill that would ban local law enforcement from questioning people about their immigration status.
“Delegate Aruna Miller is rolling out the red carpet for criminals to come to our city,” reads one of the ads, which states that it was paid for by the Maryland Republican Party. Another ad chides Miller for “making Maryland a sanctuary state,” and that she is “treating criminals like celebrities.
Maryland House Bill 1461 – called the Supporting All Families Everywhere Act – also seeks to ban local law enforcement from detaining people solely on immigration violations, and offers some legal protections to representatives of jurisdictions that do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Several cities around the country already have similar policies in place, and are known as sanctuary cities.
Miller, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2010, is one of eight Democrats seeking the nomination for the 6th Congressional District seat, which is being vacated by Rep. John Delaney, also a Democrat. Two Republicans are also running for the seat. Maryland’s primary election will be held June 26. (See previous India-West story here.).
According to The Washington Post, Miller alerted reporters to the mailing. Her campaign released a statement denouncing the campaign against her as “racist.”
“As an immigrant and proud American, I find the dog-whistle rhetoric used by Trump Republicans to be despicable,” said Miller in a tweet posted April 6.
“Across the country Americans are rejecting Republicans’ hateful and misleading messaging and I'm confident that Maryland voters will too. Our campaign is about embracing our diversity and creating a government that works for everyone,” said the long-time politician, adding in a successive tweet: “Ever since President Trump made an announcement to run for office in 2015 he has made a scapegoat of immigrants and our families. The decisions made by this administration cut against the very values of the American dream.”
Miller accused the state Republican Party of trying to “demonize all immigrants.”
Dirk Haire, the state GOP’s chair, said in his own statement that voters “deserve to know about Delegate Aruna Miller’s voting record.” Haire associated Miller with the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, which he described as unconcerned with “community safety,” according to The Washington Post report.