County moves to fund attorneys for immigrants in Montgomery
ROCKVILLE — One could have mistaken Tuesday night’s County Council public hearing as a national debate about the United States’ immigration policy – not a special appropriation to the budget.
While budget add-ons are common for the Council, the recently proposed $373,957 in funding for legal counsel for immigrants facing deportation has become a contentious issue among residents as they debate the necessity of the funding and America’s immigration policy during Tuesday night’s public hearing on the proposed special appropriation.
The special budget appropriation was introduced two weeks prior with full support from the Council with the intention of helping residents who do not have documentation, from being deported. If passed, the $373,957 would go to the Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition, which represents people in immigration court cases pro-bono.
“This is the right thing to do, it is consistent with the core values of our County and our country,” said Laura Munez Lopez, an undocumented immigrant that came to the U.S. as a minor. “It is consistent with the values that drew my parents to seek a better life here in the first place.”
WASHINGTON — When a Fairfax County jury convicted Wilmer Sanchez-Serrano last November for his role in the stabbing death of 15-year-old Watkins Mill High School student Damaris A. Reyas Rivas one year before, one might have reasonably assumed Rivas’ loved ones could put her tragic death behind them and, with at least one of her killers behind bars, begin to heal.
But in their quest to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, the Trump administration returned Rivas to the headlines Wednesday when Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan invoked her name at a White House law enforcement roundtable on MS-13, the gang to which Sanchez-Serrano – as well as the other 10 suspects arrested in connection with her death – claimed membership.
“In January of last year, Damaris Reyes Rivas, a 15-year-old girl from a suburb of D.C., was stabbed 13 times with knives and a wooden stake by MS-13 members,” Cronan said, while briefing President Donald Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen, and several members of Congress. “Damaris's killers filmed her murder so that they could show their leaders back in El Salvador, and Damaris's body was then barbarically dumped next to railroad tracks that run under the Beltway,” he said.
Rockville votes to take a stand against President Trump and federal immigration policy
ROCKVILLE – Rockville City Council members called the debate over the proposed ordinance to prohibit city officials from enforcing immigration law, one of the most contentious issues they have dealt with.
On Monday, the Rockville City Council and Mayor voted to pass the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance 3-2, which will ban City officials from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Council members Virginia D. Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr and Mark Pierzchala voted in favor of the ordinance while Council member Beryl L. Feinberg and Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton voted against it.
“When it comes to this jurisdiction, I think it’s time for the City of Rockville to take a stand,” Pierzchala said.
Parents worry for safety while school system defends actions in wake of crime
WASHINGTON D.C. – The federal government will take no special actions against Montgomery County or Rockville, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, following a rape of a 14- year-old female student at Rockville High School allegedly involving an 18-year-old and 17-year-old undocumented immigrants.
Both Rockville and Montgomery County do not cooperate with federal authorities on enforcing immigration law unless the person is a violent offender.
“Our policy and executive order speak for themselves,” Spicer said, but added there was “nothing special” planned against either the city or the county.
On Friday, police arrested two students from Rockville High School and charged them with first-degree rape, after allegedly raping a fellow female student Thursday morning around nine a.m.
Henry E. Sanchez, 18, and Jose O. Montano, 17, are both charged with one count of first-degree rape and two first-degree sex offenses and are being held without bond.