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The other side of Immigration


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Published on: Thursday, June 10, 2010

By Alix Farr

For Edgar Morales, who immigrated legally to Montgomery County from Puerto Rico in 2002, it began when his car was stolen a few years ago. The suspects arrested for the crime were both illegal immigrants, both with criminal records, according to police Morales said.

Bridget Faraci, whose parents immigrated to the United States from South America before she was born, was frustrated when she was taken to the emergency room at a local hospital and could not be seen because, she said, there were so many illegal immigrants in the waiting area who were using the hospital as basic health care.  

Incidents like these have prompted many area residents, including Hispanics, to take action against what they consider lax enforcement of illegal immigration laws in Montgomery County.  Both Morales and Faraci found and joined the group Help Save Maryland to work for reform with over 2,000 other members across the state of Maryland.

“I was sick and tired of illegal immigration,” Morales said. “One person doesn’t have a voice. Only a group.”

The group’s leader, Brad Botwin, said that his goal is to educate citizens about the social and economic costs of illegal immigrants, which HSM estimates to be $234 million for Montgomery County alone. He says that Montgomery County in particular is a problem area, noting the policies of County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett that give illegal immigrants a sanctuary status, according to Botwin.

Help Save Maryland, under Botwin’s tutelage, has been butting heads with county and state government since its founding in 2007.  

Members say this is necessary in order to bring about changes needed for safer, more stable communities, but their views are often not as extreme or controversial as their leader who has become known for stirring up controversy. While Botwin calls Police Chief J.Thomas Manger’s Latino Liason Meetings-- designed to be a discussion group between Latinos and the police about issues surrounding them-- an opportunity to “plot against the citizens,” Morales says that he sees where Manger has good intentions but misses the mark by working so hard to protect illegal immigrants.

“He has a good point and he seems like a great guy,” Morales said, “but the problem is you have to look for the people who are paying taxes, all the legal people here in the United States. Protect people that are here legally, and then if there is leftover budget, then work with the illegals.”

Botwin and HSM organize many rallies and protests to make their voices known across Maryland.  

“Illegal immigration is a major problem in Montgomery County, and the effects have been disregarded by our elected leaders,” said Faraci. “There's a groundswell among our neighbors in this county that something has to be done. Our schools are overcrowded as are our hospitals and prisons, citizens are exposed to violent crime, and people are seeing the overall subsequent disintegration of community unity.”

Reader Comments - 13 Total

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Posted By: Silver Spring JoJo On: 6/22/2010

Title: Illegal Immigrants are lawbreakes

Why are lawbreakers given aid to break the law. Special education for their students who don't speak English, special discounts if English is a second language, schools need to decrease their budgets, foreign help for CASA. What other lawbreakers get so much help. We see jaywalkers getting punched and going to jail but illegal immigrants are given a blessing and a welcome at all free facilities without paying a dime in taxes. I want someone to say why they are so special as lawbreakers.

Posted By: Silver Spring Jo Jo On: 6/22/2010

Title: Illegal is breaking the law

Why are lawbreakers given aid and special treatment. We see jaywalkers going to jail but illegal immigration is OK and supported here in MoCo Md. They have to have a special place set aside to find a job without going to the unemployment office like legal residents, they use all facilities that are free without paying one dime in taxes. They have to have special teachers, specail pre schoool, special discount for summer school while Americans are booted out if they are poor. I can't understand how a store can be opened and the people do not speak English but they can afford the rent. Something seems shady to me. They treat Americans like they want us to go home.
Lawbreakers need to be deported or sent to jail. Why are they special?

Posted By: downstroke. On: 6/17/2010

Title: Get Real

Illegal Immigrants should be treated, just as any other Illigal immigrant are treated in their country of origin. The first thing you would get, as an illegal immigrant in a foreign country is a wood shampoo, then you would be held for ransom for a while, then you would be deported. The U.S. is the only country, that has a police force, that does not carry machine guns. All central american countries have police forces that are armed with machineguns!! I do not know of any central american country where English is a manditory 2nd. language. Get real, get yourself in a medical emergency in a third world country and see how far your universal health care will get you. I can talk all the crap I want, I am a 1st. generation legal immigrant. My family came to this country on a legal visa, we learned the language, the customs and the traditions of the American people, we did everything the hard way. We were successful. No Spanish speakers ever helped us out, and we were never ever on public assistance for anything!! We legally paid our way thru the system, thru blood sweat and tears, legally! If millions of us did it legally, why can't the rest do it? Fair is fair, no excuses.

Posted By: K.D. On: 6/16/2010

Title: Got the Facts

I disagree with you, useastcoastguy. The contributions that are being made by illegal immigrants are not as significant as you seem to think they are. First, illegal immigrants undercut the current job market by working than less than scale and most times below the legal hourly rate which undercuts the interests of valid and interested legal residents and citizens. The myth that there are jobs that us Americans just aren't willing to perform any longer is nothing but a LIE! There are many people without high school educations, those exiting the penal system as well as those exiting both drug and vocational rehabilitation programs that are more than willing to perform "blue collar" or "trade" work in this country. Maybe, just maybe, if those individuals interests weren't undercut by the illegal worker, the U.S. wouldn't have a prison system overflowing with African Americans. Not to mention, if the U.S. were willing to give up its "docile," underpaid population of quieted illegal workers. And as for those taxes paid and social security benefits paid into. Do some research, most times taxes that are taken from the pay illegals receive are not even reported to the IRS by the employers that illegally employ them. Funds being funneled in to social security vs. funds being drained from public welfare benefits (i.e., cash assistance, food stamps and medical care), housing programs, school programs, unnecessary language access programs, um, you might want to recheck your facts about that one too. Case in point, my husband has struggled for the past year in this downed economy to obtain a position in the construction field. He couldn't find anything out there...it was if the wells had run dry because any place he wanted to work was bustling with illegals who would hustle their way up to the local Seven-Eleven, crowd the parking lot and wait to be plucked from the bunches of other illegals who would perform the work for a lower pay just to get the days wages (not to mention with no security of hazardous duty coverage). Each morning, those same construction contractors showed up engaging the same recruiting process. Now you tell me, how you condone that? Wrong is just simply wrong in some matters. And what is unlawful will remain just that, "unlawful," until there is legislation that changes that. It's your choice to support illegal activities if you so desire -- just don't accept one and not the other. So when your identity is stolen, home is broken into, wife is raped, child is murdered -- don't complain, just remember, you're an individual that can justify a criminal act! I say to you sir, "There appears to be no excuse for such hypocrisy and excuse for your ignorance!"

Posted By: K.D. On: 6/16/2010

Title: Got the Facts...

I disagree with you, useastcoastguy. The contributions that are being made by illegal immigrants are not as significant as you seem to think they are. First, illegal immigrants undercut the current job market by working than less than scale and most times below the legal hourly rate which undercuts the interests of valid and interested legal residents and citizens. The myth that there are jobs that us Americans just aren't willing to perform any longer is nothing but a LIE! There are many people without high school educations, those exiting the penal system as well as those exiting both drug and vocational rehabilitation programs that are more than willing to perform "blue collar" or "trade" work in this country. Maybe, just maybe, if those individuals interests weren't undercut by the illegal worker, the U.S. wouldn't have a prison system overflowing with African Americans. Not to mention, if the U.S. were willing to give up its "docile," underpaid population of quieted illegal workers. And as for those taxes paid and social security benefits paid into. Do some research, most times taxes that are taken from the pay illegals receive are not even reported to the IRS by the employers that illegally employ them. Funds being funneled in to social security vs. funds being drained from public welfare benefits (i.e., cash assistance, food stamps and medical care), housing programs, school programs, unnecessary language access programs, um, you might want to recheck your facts about that one too. Case in point, my husband has struggled for the past year in this downed economy to obtain a position in the construction field. He couldn't find anything out there...it was if the wells had run dry because any place he wanted to work was bustling with illegals who would hustle their way up to the local Seven-Eleven, crowd the parking lot and wait to be plucked from the bunches of other illegals who would perform the work for a lower pay just to get the days wages (not to mention with no security of hazardous duty coverage). Each morning, those same construction contractors showed up engaging the same recruiting process. Now you tell me, how you condone that? Wrong is just simply wrong in some matters. And what is unlawful will remain just that, "unlawful," until there is legislation that changes that. It's your choice to support illegal activities if you so desire -- just don't accept one and not the other. So when your identity is stolen, home is broken into, wife is raped, child is murdered -- don't complain, just remember, you're an individual that can justify a criminal act! I say to you sir, "There appears to be no excuse for such hypocrisy and excuse for your ignorance!"

Posted By: Marcela On: 6/16/2010

Title: Ignorance

Saying that all ilegals are committing crimes is overreaching. If one goes to visit a jail there are criminals of all the colors ans shapes.
Ilegal immigrants pay taxes too - the IRS is happy to issue tax ID to ilegal immigrants - so saying that ilegal immigrant should not use the public services meant for citizens is a bit ridiculous.
How can Ms. Faraci state that all the immigrants in the emergency room were illegal? Did she go around checking INS status?

Posted By: Maria On: 6/16/2010

Title: Maryland needs saving

The article makes good points but illegal immigrants and their supporters won't understand that because they are too busy defending illegal behavior. Even though some illegal immigrants pay taxes, there are a lot who don't, and the taxes they don't pay certainly outweighs the resources they use. The ones with good intentions are still here illegally. If someone with good intentions moved into your house without asking, I'm sure you wouldn't let them stay. And you wouldn't use your money to pay for their needs before paying for those of your own family members.

Posted By: useastcoastguy On: 6/16/2010

Title: Get the Facts

There is ample evidence that immigrants who have entered without papers or who overstay their visa make a positive economic contribution to the Maryland economy as well as the economies of other states. They do pay several taxes, and some of them will never get their social security contributions back. And of course they do a lot of work in the state that contributes to its high quality. For Botwin and associates, I say: ignorance is no excuse.

Posted By: candygram On: 6/15/2010

Title: Power to HSM!!!

I am heartened to read this article. Illegal immigration is destroying not just Maryland, but the entire U.S. Until we stop it, unemployment of Americans will continue to rise and our country will become bankrupt because of the shadow welfare state that has been created. Needy Americans are not able to receive healthcare, foodstamps or housing anymore, because Illegals are taking all the benefits. It isn't fair, and it is a criminal abuse of power to not enforce current immigration laws. Mikulski, Leggett and Van Hollen all support illegal immigration, and they will not be receiving votes from me next time around, because I will not vote for criminals...but it's not just the democrats who support illegal immigration. The third party RINO Conservatives do too. As a matter of fact, it was the patron saint of the Conservative movement, Ronald Reagan, who became the Father of Illegal Immigration in the 80's when he opened the back door border for cheap untaxable labor, and it's been going on ever since. The only people willing to stop it are the true Republicans. (The ones the Conservatives call "Moderate" Republicans.) They have become a rare breed indeed, as the Conservatives systematically replace them with illegal immigration supporting Conservatives. If you care at all about the chaos illegal immigration is causing, make sure you know who you're voting for in the upcoming elections. And as far as the comment, "Health care is a basic human right anywhere in the world" goes, it may be for illegals, but it's definitely not a basic human right for Americans. I lost my job and my insurance, and had to go to the emergency room...I am now being billed for over $1,000.00.

Posted By: Lewis On: 6/15/2010

Title: Let's be fair

"citizens are exposed to violent crime, and people are seeing the overall subsequent disintegration of community unity.”
So Mr. Farr, tell me: are all illegal immigrants committing crimes, robbing people, stealing cars, murdering, raping, etc? Do you think it is smart or even true to generalized a group in our society like that? Not all illegal aliens are criminals, most are productive members of our community, specially in Montgomery County. Our community is already losing its unity due to the fear and lies about today's immigrants. The hispanic community is seen a bunch of third-world monkeys, by people who think that hispanic immigrants are nothing more than free riders on this system, or criminals. Even though such allegations are targeted to illegal immigrants, the XENOPHOBICS of this country generalize the entire hispanic community.
I totally agree that criminals should be punished, but those who are doing nothing but contributing to our society, like most illegal immigrants, should not generalized or persecuted like that. Most of these illegal immigrants love this country as much as a citizen does, and desire to help improve it and make it grow.

Posted By: Coastersaqueen On: 6/14/2010

Title: Grade school project?

It's kind of hard to get behind this story with the fist line being wrong and all.

Posted By: JeffisQueer On: 6/13/2010

Title: JeffisQueer

LOL "Immigrated from Puerto Rico" What a Maroon!

Posted By: odasor51 On: 6/11/2010

Title: The other side

I can sympathize with Mr Morales and with all the immigrants that have made a choice to come and integrate into the American society. But I have a question on the issue of domain rights that goes back centuries. We can agree the many treaties were made for dominance or convenience that power in hand of a few to asumulate the powerless.
We understand the examples that history writes on human rights and the dignity of man. But the reality is this also as many would agree has long been as time allows a group bent to control the thoughts and choices of the many. The abuse of power is destined to continue. We know the words that decribe American Indians and the civilization they had for thousands of years. Some are we linked in some twist of fate to pay back the faults and misgiving of those forefathers who like many now believe that there is a God given right only extended to the few blessed to be American citizens.
If as a native American you can conceive the right of past generational ties to a land taken away maybe even stolen from those that possessed it first. Tainos know that right though many have given it up to advance of the progressive society of the north but as a colony. Yet many stay and continue to claim their culture and langauge thought to be a lesser priority then the protection granted by a federal government.
Let understand together, Health care is a basic human right anywhere in the world so lets find the way to allow tolerance for the needs of a silent society forced into the shadows of this great country.




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