Frederick County Maryland – Standing Up to Illegal Immigrants One Person at a Time.

Frederick County Maryland is not what one pictures when one thinks of being on the front lines of the illegal immigration issue.

But it is.

Frederick County is located northwest of Washington DC, and is home to Camp David, Fort Detrick and the Catoctin Mountain Park. Famous figures from the area include Frances Scott Key and Barbara Fritchie.

Frederick County has always complied with the Federal government and turned over illegal immigrants to the Feds upon arrest. This past March, that policy may have come back to bite them on the butt.

In March 18, 2011, 32-year-old Burger King Assistant Manager Jacinta “Patty” Ayala was shot to death. The mother of three was found dead in the restaurant. The police have now charged 21 year old Jose Reyes Mejia-Varela with her murder. Majia-Varela had been employed at the restaurant and the motive for the killing is unclear.

What is not unclear is Mejia-Varela was in the country illegally.

In fact, Mejia-Varela had previously been deported for a violent crime to El Salvador and had again returned to the United States illegally where he assumed a new identity.

It was after being laid off from Burger King he returned to the store where he allegedly shot and killed Ayala.

Understandably, the citizens of the county are upset.

Frederick County has a policy of verifying legal residents for those who work directly for the county or for sub-contractors of the county. In response to the Ayala killing and the subsequent arrest of a man who was here in the US illegally, the county is now looking to expand its illegal immigration policy with four new laws:

1) an ordinance initiated by the former board that would establish English as the official language in Frederick County,
2) a requirement for area businesses to use the E-Verify system,
3) prohibiting the harboring of illegal aliens in rental properties such as apartments,
4) and the prohibition of day labor sites and the solicitation of employment in traffic.

As you can imagine, the new laws are being attacked as witnessed by this article in the Baltimore Sun:

Del. Kathryn L. Afzali, a Republican who represents Frederick County, said she understands why the commissioners felt the need to look at immigration legislation now.

“At this point, what our commissioners are saying is that ‘we can’t afford the costs,'” associated with additional county services, such as social services for undocumented workers, she said.

The proposals are in direct response to local problems, she said, noting that a lot of people are looking for jobs, especially in construction, which can also attract illegal immigrants. She said the rental measure is a response to complaints about residences with multiple families causing noise, parking problems and other issues.

Kim Propeack, political director of Casa de Maryland, said the language measure seemed only “a purely decorative move” since federal and state guidelines require government literature to be written in additional languages. She also questioned the measure that would prohibit illegal immigrants from renting, saying it would be difficult and potentially dangerous to give landlords that power.

“Most economic studies show immigrants as part of vibrant economies,” contributing to wealth, rather than taking jobs, Propeack said.

Casa de Maryland is an immigration advocacy group. They were responsible for the pushing of Maryland’s version of the controversial “Dream Act” which proposed to allow illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities. The bill was initially signed into law by Maryland Governor O’Malley, but was met with fierce resistance from voters who led a petition drive to have the measure placed on the ballot in 2012.

It is therefore not surprising that Casa de Maryland is against the Frederick County rules and laws on illegal immigrants.

But there is something else as well. If you read the above excerpt from the Baltimore Sun, you may have caught how the spokesman for Casa de Maryland “shifted the goalposts.” That is, Kim Propeack gave one bit of information that is deceptive to the topic at hand.

Here again is what Propeack said:

“Most economic studies show immigrants as part of vibrant economies,” contributing to wealth, rather than taking jobs.”

We have been accused in the past of “nit-picking” when it comes to debates and discussing things people. Propeack’s statement is a prime reason why we are picky. Words matter and Propeack doesn’t want you to notice that he is being deceptive.

We agree that immigrants are a vital part of the economy. Like most Americans, we come from a stock of immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants.

Propeack wants you to think of that when you hear “immigrant” and to be against Frederick County’s proposed laws. But Frederick County isn’t targeting “immigrants.” The proposed laws deal with illegal immigrants – people who are here in this country illegally.

Propeack wants you to forget Jose Reyes Mejia-Varela was here illegally, deported for a violent crime, returned to the country illegally, assumed a new identity and allegedly murdered a mother of three.

In Propeack’s mind, the fact that Majia-Varela had such little regard for the laws of this country he deliberately broke them not once, not twice, not three times, but four times before he decided to kill 32-year-old Patty Ayala is irrelevant.

Propeack wants you to equate people who enter the country legally and those who enter the county illegally.

Frederick County has a long, uphill struggle in implementing the laws that will make being an illegal immigrant in the county much more difficult. Casa de Maryland, along with the ACLU, will surely file lawsuits against the laws.

At the same time, they will not have the guts to stand up to the citizens of the county and offer real solutions to prevent another tragedy such as the murder of Ayala. They will continue to subtly change the focus away from illegal immigrants to legal immigrants.

Don’t let them.

Don’t let those who lie and obfuscate dishonor the hundreds of millions of legal immigrants in this country. Don’t let them dishonor the life of Patty Ayala who died because of the illegal actions of an illegal immigrant.

Hold them accountable for what they say and what they believe.

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