Wow, does this read like a horrible deja vu nightmare?! The similarities are striking:
*Deny services to children by initating legal status confirmation (original resolution laguage written by Robert Duecaster with help of IRLI(FAIR) )
*Citizen concern about overcrowding/neighborhood issues
*Racial profiling concerns
*A Chief of Police who advocates community outreach to immigrant communities
Until now, the county has handled the influx with outreach classes in schools and community policing programs. Chic Hispanic restaurants flourish in downtown Frederick, and working-class Latinos have remained relatively invisible.
Suddenly, however, their presence is igniting a controversy that some fear could escalate into the kind of war over illegal immigration that has torn apart Prince William County. In the past month, the Frederick County sheriff has joined with federal authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants, and county commissioners have proposed legislation to ban free translation of county business and require public schools to track down students who are in the United States illegally.
“The single biggest threat to our country is the immigration problem. We cannot continue to absorb this population or we will end up in collapse like a Third World country,” said Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, whose officers have identified 18 illegal immigrants in the past two weeks after traffic stops or other incidents. “We are not going out in a white van with a big net, but we are getting the criminal element of the illegal population out of Frederick County.”
Local opponents of the measures, including black, white and Hispanic residents, say the crackdown and other proposed actions smack of racism and political grandstanding.
Help Save Maryland, a rapidly growing citizens group that opposes illegal immigration, has supported the crackdown in group e-mails, radio interviews and newspaper columns. The coordinator of the Frederick chapter has accused opponents of “playing the race card.”
Frederick Police Chief Kim Dine, who is white, spent years in Washington’s Latino neighborhoods and is an advocate of police outreach in the community. County Board of Education Chairman Daryl Boffman, who is black, has worked to promote the kind of educational boosts for immigrant students that once helped him get ahead.