Thursday, February 23, 2017
Rockville facing clash on sanctuary city proposal
There are already petitions for and against the sanctuary city proposal. Executives in Montgomery and Howard County have opposed legislative efforts to officially declare each sanctuary counties, as such designations increase the likelihood that they could lose federal funds. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has even sought to declare recently that the county is not a sanctuary jurisdiction, because it cooperates in limited ways with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts. His assertion left many perplexed in a county known for looking the other way on citizenship status in every facet of government.
Advocates of sanctuary city policies say they help make communities safer, when undocumented immigrants feel comfortable assisting police in solving crimes. Opponents point to the massive costs illegal immigration are placing on taxpayers, particularly in Montgomery County Public Schools, and to an increase in crime and gang activity.
Two illegal immigrants living in taxpayer-subsidized Montgomery County public housing in Wheaton were arrested last year for the kidnapping and gang rape of a 12-year-old girl. Gaithersburg teen Damaris Reyes was found dead recently in Fairfax, after becoming involved with MS-13 members at Watkins Mill High School. And another teenage girl was shot multiple times in a Wheaton gang-related attack in 2014.
A public hearing on the issue will be held on March 6, 2017 at 7:00 PM, and is sure to be a lively debate. In a sign of just how contentious the debate may be, the sanctuary city item was the only one to not have documentation attached to the advance agenda for Monday's meeting yesterday, meaning residents could not yet get an advance look at the proposal.