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Local politicians arrested as county backs immigrants

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ROCKVILLE — U.S. Capitol Police arrested two local politicians last week in act of civil disobedience as the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday approved a resolution expressing support for the continuation of two federal immigration policies – Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

"We don't often do this, but I think under the Trump administration we wind up doing it more than customary," said Council member Marc Elrich (D-At-large).

Last Wednesday, Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large) and Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18) participated in the act of civil disobedience outside the U.S. Capitol. Capitol police arrested Riemer and Gutierrez after a staged act of civil disobedience to raise awareness for DACA and TPS.

"These are civil disobedience actions that are planned very carefully," said Sol Gutierrez, who said she'd been arrested four or five times in civil disobedience protests.

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“I’m no threat to anyone…”

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Local woman afraid with loss of DACA she'll be deported

MPI CASA 0023 1DACA recipient Karina Velasco expresses her concern over the possible end of the program. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  Lately, Karina Velasco thinks about her two-year-old daughter more than ever. If Velasco is deported to Mexico – a country she barely remembers and where she has no family – she wants her daughter with her.

But her husband, who, like their child is a United States citizen, wants the little girl to remain with him and grow up in America.

“The one person who drives me to fight is my daughter. I wouldn’t want her to live without her mother. I want her to be strong and grow up to be a person who is compassionate and willing to help others.”

When Velasco’s parents left Mexico with her and her brother, she was 14 years old and hadn’t seen her parents in six years as they strove for a new life for the family. Then, one day, she found herself in America, thanks to the family reunification program for unaccompanied minors.

“It was not our decision to leave,” she said of herself and her brother.

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Family and friends reflect on two deported brothers

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Two brothers deported 2 20626272 10155283193379473 4533424118588186121 oJonathan Claros, 29, is flanked by brothers Lizandro,19, (left) and Diego,22, (right) who were deported to El Salvador Wednesday. COURTESY PHOTO  Members of a local family said they feel a combination of sadness, concern and hope in the wake of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detaining and deporting two brothers to their home country.

Jonathan Claros, 29, his sister Fatima Claros, 25, along with their parents are making efforts to assist the two youngest children, Diego Claros-Saravia and Lizandro Claros-Saravia, ages 19 and 22, in their adjustment to life back in El Salvador.

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17-year-old accused in Rockville rape awaits trial

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ROCKVILLE – Prosecutors will have until May 5 to decide whether to go forward with rape and sexual assault charges against Jose O. Montano, a Rockville High School student accused of raping a fellow student.

Montano, 17, along with Henry E. Sanchez, 18, was charged with first-degree rape and two first-degree sexual offense charges after police said the two Rockville High School students raped a 14-year-old girl during school hours.

District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe set Montano’s trial date for May 5, which means the state’s attorney will have until then to either proceed or drop the charges against Montano.

“Hopefully, they’ll make the right decision and realize Mr. Montano was arrested hastily without an investigation,” said Montano’s attorney, David Wooten.

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Immigrants long for role models as they adjust to life in their new home country

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This is an ongoing series devoted to the stories of Montgomery County’s immigrant population.

In 2005, Claudia Paiva, then 15 years old, boarded a plane with her family from Peru to the United States, attracted by the prospect of university scholarships for Paiva and her older brother.

“It’s very expensive for a middle-class family to send a kid to college in Peru, and there aren’t as many scholarship opportunities as there are here,” Paiva said. 

Paiva and her family came to the U.S. on a six-month tourist visa and remained in the country without papers after it expired, living as undocumented immigrants for several years.

“Peru is a very traditional, very religious country,” Paiva said. “When we got here, my parents became very protective and repressive, and I resented them for that for a long time.”

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Immigration issue overshadows rape

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Outrage and sadness erupted after a girl reported a rape in a Rockville High School bathroom on March 16.

But the unity of emotion following the rape of a 14-year-old student comes to a crashing halt when the topic of immigration surfaces.

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Outrage over high school rape

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Parents worry for safety while school system defends actions in wake of crime

Sanchez mug shotHenry E. Sanchez        POLICE COURTESY PHOTO

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.

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The politics of a local tragedy

Sanchez mug shot

Somewhere in this county right now a 14-year-old girl is confused, angry and hurting. Dragged into a bathroom at her high school and repeatedly raped, she has been violated and her humanity torn from her in a way no child should ever face.
An 18-year-old illegal immigrant stands accused of the crime along with a 17-year-old juvenile illegal immigrant – one of whom was facing deportation hearings - and because of who they are the story has taken on national significance.

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Immigrant fear continues

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Local children apparently afraid while at school parents will be deported

MCPS logo

Anxious calls of concern are coming into both the Montgomery School District’s main offices and individual schools as parents work to deal with their fears about whether they or their children might be deported due to their immigration status.

“Parents are concerned,” said Montgomery County Public School District Spokesman Derek Turner. “We’ve heard from up-county, and we’ve heard from down-county,” he said, explaining that the calls aren’t just coming from a few isolated areas.

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Rockville considers sanctuary

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City holds public forum and listens as residents and neighbors discuss immigration

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – More than 80 people testified during a public hearing Monday on a planned ordinance which would preclude the city from enforcing federal immigration law.

Residents, property owners and workers in the city, as well as individuals from elsewhere in the county, shared concerns about what would happen if the ordinance was implemented.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the purpose of the public hearing was to give residents a chance to comment on the idea of Rockville becoming a sanctuary city. She said she and the council received many letters over the past few weeks pertaining to the sanctuary city status.

There were “many in support and there are many who have concerns,” Newton said.

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