BY MARGARET MONTUORI for HELP SAVE MARYLAND.ORG
Before the Howard County Council, September 21, 2020
“Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the Howard County Council regarding CB 51-2020. My name is Margaret Montuori. I am representing Help Save Maryland (HSM), a multi-ethnic grass- roots citizens’ organization with members state-wide. Our goal is to educate the citizens in Maryland’s counties, cities, and towns regarding the negative effects of illegal immigration. HSM research and education activities foster public awareness and facilitate effective engagement between the citizens of Maryland and the legislative process. We are an effective voice for Marylanders who are frustrated by our out-of-touch politicians.
Today I am here to speak in opposition to County Bill 51-2020 which would needlessly eliminate cooperation between Howard County and federal law enforcement authorities at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Howard County has had a 20 plus year contractual history with ICE from which the county is paid nearly $2 million dollars a year. The Howard County detention facility merely houses criminal detainees brought to the facility by ICE agents. Howard County does not participate in the pro-active federal illegal immigration enforcement activities such as the 287(g) program. The ICE detainees do not over burden the facility and the revenues received cover the costs of the facility that were previously paid by the Howard County taxpayer.
In the current coronavirus environment in which many Marylanders are in survival mode, we are vigilante regarding any county’s increase in property taxes. Why would Howard County now wish to forfeit these funds from ICE?
Termination of the facility will have a statewide impact on safety. In 2018 Maryland was second only to California in cases against MS-13 gang members. I live in Montgomery County where numerous rapes of girls under the age of 13 by illegal aliens have occurred, as well as numerous horrific and heinous murders, forced prostitution, extortion and drug dealing by MS-13 gang members. ICE is actively making arrests in our state because of this perpetual crime.
Maryland has only three detention centers in our heavily populated state. ICE depends on having access to these detention centers, including the Howard County holding facility, to effectuate efficient removal of criminals.
A false narrative is being circulated in Howard County and elsewhere that cooperation with ICE makes illegal immigrants fearful of cooperating with law enforcement. Illegal immigrants, who are so often the targets of criminal gang activity, can apply for a federal “U” Visa which offers them protection in exchange for their cooperation with law enforcement. The visa can also be a path to legal resident status. CASA de Maryland and other illegal immigrant activist groups promote the U Visa and they also sensationalize the experiences of some ICE detainees.
But these groups do not address the mundane fear some illegal immigrants experience from harassment and theft. Here I cannot offer a statistic or a poll, but I do want to relay conversations I have had with illegal immigrants. These people have not suffered the substantial mental or physical abuse requisite for the U Visa. They live in fear and welcome the idea that those who cause trouble in their communities, their apartment buildings, their neighborhoods are apprehended and dealt with including deportation.
County Council Vice Chair Liz Walsh recently told the Baltimore Sun that after the 2020 “summer of love” protests she thinks prohibiting the Howard County Department of Corrections from accepting federal immigration detainees will be “beneficial.” I am hard pressed to see any benefit from decoupling with federal ICE cooperation.
It is now the autumn of 2020 and Americans are well aware that many of the protestors are not from the communities in which they protest. Protests at the Howard facility were most likely contrived by CASA de Maryland, an organization with long ties to the illegal alien community and other radical groups promoting lawlessness. By promoting Bill 51-2020, does Liz Walsh truly represent her constituents, or the voices that wish to allow criminal illegal immigrants to operate freely in the county?
Illegal immigrant status has nothing to do with race. In addition to the economic gain Howard County receives from ICE, safety for all persons living in Howard County should trump the ideology of a handful of protestors at the Howard County facility. Illegal alien criminals must be detained and handled by the federal agency charged with their disposition and possible deportation to keep the public safe. Your job entails keeping the public safe as well. Please vote against Bill 51-2020.”
Note: A majority of the Howard County Council did not agree with Ms. Montuori.
However, Howard County Executive Calvin Bell vetoed this council bill.
Help Save Maryland is a multi-ethnic grass roots organization dedicated to preserving Maryland’s counties, cities, and towns from the negative effects of illegal immigration.