School children in Baltimore started the school year wearing coats during class, and dozens of schools subsequently closed as aging heating systems failed. In January, Gov. Larry Hogan said the city would tap into its “catastrophic event” account to address frigid classrooms.
“Because of the immediate, horrendous, failing HVAC systems crisis in Baltimore City, immediately, today we are providing an additional $2.5 million in emergency, discretionary funding,” Hogan said in a WBAL television report.
“Even the funding source seemed to underscore his message. Hogan said he is withdrawing the $2.5 million from the state’s ‘catastrophic event’ account to help get the heat back on in Baltimore City Public Schools,” WBAL reported.
The day the governor made his announcement, eight Baltimore schools closed because of broken pipes and boilers, and some classroom were flooded, according to WBAL.
But just weeks after applauding Hogan for bailing the city out so children could attend heated classrooms, Mayor Catherine Pugh said $100,000 from the city’s budget would be spent on legal fees for illegal aliens fighting deportation.
The Baltimore Sun reported:
The city’s spending panel on Wednesday approved spending $200,000 to pay for the attorneys, who the Democratic mayor said will get to work within weeks defending immigrants against federal deportation lawyers.
“We hope that everyone gets due process,” Pugh said.
Half of the $200,000 is funded by a grant from the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York nonprofit. The other half will come from the city’s budget.
The combined pot of money is expected to help about 40 people obtain legal representation.
The Vera Institute of Justice is also offering logistical support for the city, according to the Sun.
The outlet also reported that this development is in response to the Trump administration’s enforcement of federal immigration law. In September, federal agents arrested 28 people in Maryland for violating those laws.
But the mayor argues it is not about people’s legal status, but is, instead, “supporting” illegal residents.
“We’re not making a decision as to their status, we’re making the decision to be supportive of individuals who live in our city,” Pugh said.
At least one Maryland Republican is reportedly questioning the spending.
“My hunch is that the vast majority of Baltimore residents would prefer to have that money spent on heat and air conditioning in Baltimore public schools instead of legal fees,” Maryland’s GOP chairman Dirk Haire told the Sun.
In addition to those funds, pro-amnesty, open border advocacy group Open Society Institute announced it is providing $500,000 to help illegal aliens facing court proceedings.
“Advocates say they’re concerned that many of the undocumented immigrants living in Baltimore do not have enough money to hire a lawyer,” the Sun reported.
“The advocates have raised $225,000 of the $500,000 they say is needed to provide enough legal services. The Open Society Institute contributed $100,000, the Annie E. Casey Foundation contributed $100,000, and the Baltimore Community Foundation contributed $25,000,” the Sun stated.
Meanwhile, a former student of Baltimore schools set up a GoFundMe page to help buy space heaters. She was joined in the effort by Valerie Arum, a fellow college student, and former NFL player and now Baltimore school teacher Aaron Maybin, WBAL reported.
The fundraising website, featuring a photo of children huddled in coats and jackets on the floor, aimed to raise $20,000 but collected $84,000 before it closed contributions.
The GoFundMe page says:
I am Samierra Jones, a Senior at Coppin State University and a graduate of Baltimore City Public School system. Baltimore City Public Schools are currently operating with an inadequate heating system. Students are still required to attend classes that are freezing and expected [to]wear their coats to assist in keeping them warm. How can you teach a child in these conditions? This fundraiser will help in purchasing space heaters and outerwear to assist in keeping these students warm. To raise $20,000 would be enough to cover the fees of Go fund Me and purchase roughly 600 space heaters, outerwear, and it will cover the processing fee for Go Fund Me.
Baltimore officials say the largest numbers of immigrants come from Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and El Salvador,” according to the Sun, which also noted that the immigrant population in the city had “nearly doubled” in the last ten years.
“As of 2014, more than 46,000 foreign-born people call Baltimore home,” the Sun reported.
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