Menu

Sanchez waives preliminary hearing for trial

  • Published in Crime

ROCKVILLE -- An attorney for Henry E. Sanchez, one of the students charged with the rape of a 14- year-old girl at Rockville High School, waived his preliminary hearing Friday.

David Hollenberg, one of the attorneys representing Sanchez, said last week he expects that a grand jury will indict his client.

“When the time does come, Mr. Sanchez will testify in front of 12 voters pulled from the rolls of the Motor Vehicle Administration that are residents in Montgomery County and he will testify to that – to indicate that this was purely a consensual sexual encounter,” Hollenber said.

Read more...

Takoma Park concerned about status

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logo

Takoma Park is concerned after the Trump administration issued an executive order that may punish sanctuary cities.

The City of Takoma Park considers itself to be a sanctuary city, where city officials (including police) will not identify illegal immigrants. The city has been a sanctuary city since 1985, and its sanctuary law specifically prohibits city employees from asking city residents about their citizenship and immigration status, as well as cooperating with federal laws that may lead to deportations, according to the city.

“One of the things we want to make sure is that people have the information they need and resources they need to answer their questions and to meet the challenges that are facing us,” said Mayor Kate Stewart.

Read more...

Rockville stays the course

  • Published in Local

Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said it is too early to tell whether a proposed ordinance to prevent city officials from enforcing immigration law could cause Rockville to lose federal funding. 

“The city council hasn't had the discussion yet,” said Donnell Newton when asked about whether Rockville could lose federal funding if the City Council passes the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance.

Monday night, residents each took their turn to mostly voice their opinions on one issue – immigration. For more than hour, during the usual public comment during city council meetings, residents told the City Council to pass the Fostering Community Trust ordinance, the proposed bill that would prevent city officials from complying with federal immigration detainers.

“This will ensure that our residents, citizens and permanent residents, visa holders and yes, also undocumented immigrants feel safe reporting crime and serving as witnesses,” said John Yang, president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights organization.

Read more...

Immigration issue overshadows rape

  • Published in Local

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.

Read more...

UPDATED: Judges in Hawaii and Greenbelt ban Trump executive order

  • Published in Local

A federal judge in Hawaii halted the latest executive order temporarily restricting travel from six Muslim majority nations. A federal judge in Greenbelt followed suit on Thursday, also blocking the travel ban.

Judge Derrick K. Watson from the United States District Court of Hawaii wrote Wednesday in his decision that President Donald J. Trump's executive order violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and caused irreparable harm to one of the plaintiffs Ismail Elshikh.

After hearing oral arguments Wednesday, United States District Court for the District of Maryland Judge Theodore Chuang also blocked Trump's travel ban Thursday deciding to issue an injunction against the executive order.

“The Maryland district court has issued yet another strong judicial condemnation of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban," said Omar Jadwat an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union in a statement Thursday. "If, as promised, he continues to try to defend this indefensible order in the courts — or goes back to the first iteration of the ban — he will just keep losing.”

Read more...

Rockville considers sanctuary

  • Published in Local

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.

Read more...

Parents and students talk inclusion at local schools

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Public Schools’ parents and students said the school system’s intentions of not tolerating hate are clear, though their levels of satisfaction varied.

Richard Montgomery freshman Isabelle Young, co-founder of school club RM Huddle, said MCPS responded in a satisfactory manner to incidents of discrimination that she and her little sister observed at school. Her sister witnessed a friend who was Muslim being called a terrorist at her elementary school.

“There had been a student, I don’t know where he had heard it from but he had said some pretty nasty things,” Young said, “but their school counselors actually handled it really well and talked to all the kids.”

Read more...

Gaithersburg sides with county on immigrants

  • Published in Local

Gaithersburg Govt logo

GAITHERSBURG – City council member Ryan Spiegel wanted to make one thing clear Tuesday night –the city does not participate in enforcing immigration law.

After a surge in deportations by federal immigration officials across the country, Spiegel along with other members of the Gaithersburg City Council said at Tuesday night’s Council meeting that the city does not assist federal immigration officials in deportations.

“Our city police officers do not make inquires relative to immigration status during routine actions,” Spiegel said.

Spiegel responded to comments made by Gaithersburg resident Doug Hill, who urged the city to declare itself a sanctuary city, a general term for jurisdictions where local officials do not assist in enforcement of immigration law. Spiegel said he does not think it is a good idea for the city to call itself a sanctuary city given there is no universal definition for the term.

“The phrase sanctuary city is a politically-loaded phrase as we all know,” Spiegel said. ”I think that regardless of whether or not that label is applied to a particular municipal or county or state entity, the more important question is what is the culture?”

Read more...

"I came here with dreams"

  • Published in Local

County resident remembers fleeing violence for hope here

 

When the popular restaurant Silver Diner on Rockville Pike first opened for business on Feb. 14, 1989, its future operating partner was a teenager in civil-war-torn El Salvador.

Fleeing the violence in his native land, Omar Martinez, then 14 years old, crossed Guatemala and Mexico before entering the United States by swimming across the Rio Bravo into Texas in the middle of the night on Dec. 28, 1989.

“I came here with dreams to live in different sort of world where I could go to school and make positive contributions to American society,” Martinez said.

Soon after his arrival in America, Martinez was detained by the immigration authorities and was held in a minors’ detention center for roughly two months. He was eventually released into the care of his uncle, who was then a legal resident of Rockville.

After relocating to Rockville, Martinez began attending Montgomery County Public Schools and took his first job at Silver Diner, as a dishwasher. He learned English in school and eventually took advanced classes at Montgomery College.

“It took me about five years to become fluent in speaking English,” Martinez said. “It’s taken me a lot longer to learn how to write it properly.”

As Martinez started a family, he advanced at Silver Diner, working nearly every job at the restaurant before he was offered the position of general manager at Silver Diner’s Tyson’s Corner location. In 2005, he returned to the Rockville location to become its operating partner and has worked there ever since. During his tenure, the diner’s revenue has increased substantially.

“One of my dreams was to be a contributor to society, and I’ve been able to do that here in Rockville,” Martinez said, citing Silver Diner’s financial contributions to support health and wellness programs in area schools. He received an award from MCPS in 2014 as the business owner who had done the most to support the schools.

Martinez formally became an American citizen at a ceremony in Baltimore in 2001. He said that he has always felt welcome in America, but that the rhetoric and proposals of President Donald Trump, who on the campaign trail called for mass deportations of illegal immigrants and the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, have alarmed him and many in his community.     

“Over the last year, the news that we’ve been hearing, particularly from the new president, has been very scary to my Latin American community,” Martinez said. “It’s something that keeps our friends and families awake at night.  This is the kind of threat that a lot of us came here to get away from. There was a big celebration many years ago when Germany knocked down its wall, but now, seeing that they want to build a wall here in our own backyard, separating out families is very heartbreaking.”

Martinez said he would like to show those concerned about losing jobs and resources that immigrants make significant contributions to the American economy.

“I am a businessman and I would have to say that I am very successful, and I feel that if I don’t have the workforce from other countries, I would have to close this business,” Martinez said. “Mr. Trump says he wants to rebuild American infrastructure, but he also says he wants to deport 11 million people.  If he does that, who’s going to build all these new roads and bridges? I did not come here to take jobs from Americans. I came here so that I could build something, give back and create more jobs for this wonderful country.”

@Petersrouleau

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed