The Montgomery County, Maryland Council is considering a special appropriation to its budget of $373,956 to pay legal expenses for illegal aliens fighting deportation.
The council held a contentious meeting last week, where a standing-room-only crowd cheered and jeered speakers who favor or oppose the move.
If passed, the fund would be given to the Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition (CAIR), which would screen “low-income” illegal aliens who are facing deportation proceedings, eliminating those convicted of crimes or involved in gang activities.
The Sentinel Newspapers reported:
The crowd at the County Council hearing was packed with every seat full and those standing in the back holding signs for and against the resolution. Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large) had to remind the crowd to keep quiet, as partisans on both sides could not resist the temptation to cheer on those testifying on their side.
It was not just residents who were divided – immigrants were split, with those speaking both for and against the special appropriation.
“This is the right thing to do, it is consistent with the core values of our County and our country,” Laura Munez Lopez, an illegal alien who came to the U.S. as a minor, said in the Sentinel article. “It is consistent with the values that drew my parents to seek a better life here in the first place.”
“This special appropriation is against American values of fairness,” Wei Wang, a legal immigrant, said at the meeting. “It is not fair for legal immigrants who respect the U.S. immigration law,”
“I am seeing your neighbor, that nice guy whose daughter plays with your child and who works hard every day to provide for his family, being arrested after having paid, in a timely fashion, his traffic violation ticket,” Claudia Cubas, who is with CAIR, said at the meeting, according to local radio station WTOP.
WTOP reported on two others opposing the funding:
An opponent of that view, Amy Waychoff, called it “morally wrong to take money out of the hands of U.S. citizen taxpayers and give it to illegal immigrants who should not be in the county in the first place.”
Pam Smith said the money used to fund the legal aid for immigrants could be allocated elsewhere.
“Paying for legal representation for illegal immigrants is simply another show of defiance against President Trump’s immigration crackdown,” Smith said. “Do you know that 746 teachers could get $500 each for classroom supplies with this money?”
No date has been set yet for a vote on the matter, according to media reports.
Breitbart News has reported extensively on the violent MS-13 gang, which originated in Los Angeles, California, and has members mostly from Central American countries. Gang members have been convicted of murder, rape, drug and human trafficking, and have had a high profile in Montgomery County:
In late May  J. Thomas Manger, the chief of police in Montgomery County, Maryland, an MS-13 hotspot located outside of the nation’s capital, told lawmakers, “MS-13 preys upon the immigrant community with the worst forms of violence and intimidation.”
“These vicious tactics utilized by the gang have a chilling effect on the [Latino] immigrant community. Join the gang or be beaten, pay an extortion or your family will be targeted, go to the authorities and be killed. The forced silence of the community caused by these violent tactics adds to the gang’s reputation and power,” he added. “This is what local law enforcement across this country is faced with when confronting MS-13 and why it is so difficult to combat this group and obtain the trust of the most affected communities.”
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