Comment Last Three
November 25, 2009
We in Maryland have a state supported organization that helps illegals and thinks that they are above the law. When will citizens of Maryland stop supporting payments to CASA of Maryland? Our police do their job to protect us and they get sued by a left-wing organization that has the support of the Governor. If Maryland stopped providing support to illegal aliens, we taxpayers would save $500 M a year.
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, among others, is the target of a federal lawsuit filed by a Hispanic immigrant. Roxana Orellana Santos' $1 million suit alleges that her civil rights were violated when two of Jenkins' deputies approached and subsequently arrested her in Frederick last October.
Santos claims she was simply eating lunch outdoors when she was profiled by the deputies because of her appearance. Kerry O'Brien is the director of services for CASA de Maryland, an immigrant advocacy organization, and one of several groups that has taken up Santos' cause. O'Brien's position is that Santos was neither committing a crime when she was arrested, nor charged with one after being detained.
Perhaps not, but is that the real issue here? The two deputies on the scene said Santos tried to hide when she saw them -- behavior that properly aroused their suspicion. A routine search on a national database turned up a federal immigration warrant, and, after discovering that, the deputies arrested Santos. Many in Frederick County no doubt find it ironic that a person in deportation proceedings is suing the law enforcement agency that identified her as a candidate for deportation. Frankly, we do too.
Those same folks may also see this lawsuit as an attempt to target Frederick County's participation in the federal 287(g) program, in which the sheriff's office, under U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines and supervision, identifies lawbreaking illegal immigrants and refers them to ICE for potential deportation.
O'Brien claims 287(g) is designed to identify serious/violent crimes, but to date about 90 percent of those processed under the program were accused of misdemeanor offenses. Jenkins has interpreted the program to include offenses such as traffic violations. In the end, this lawsuit is a manifestation of the federal government trying to have it both ways.
On the one hand it has the 287(g) program to identify illegal immigrants, but on the other hand it said the program should focus only on criminal/dangerous illegal immigrants. What do you do when a person driving drunk or revoked turns out to be an illegal immigrant?
Jenkins' approach has been to refer to ICE anyone who, through normal police activity, is identified as an illegal immigrant. That would include scofflaw drivers -- and Santos as well if, as the deputies said, she attempted to elude them.
We are incredulous that Santos could be successful in this. Think of it. A woman is approached by police because of suspicious behavior, and while questioning her they discover federal immigration authorities have issued a warrant for her. They take her into custody and refer her to immigration officials. And they did what wrong? Now, while in deportation proceedings, Santos is suing the sheriff and others for a cool million.
The outcome of Santos' suit could have national implications; it could even be, as Jenkins says, a "powder keg." One thing is certain - folks in Frederick County won't be the only ones following the progress of Santos' lawsuit through the courts.