maryland: Page 1
WaPo admits: Maryland driver's licenses are incredibly insecure, open to fraud (advocating two-tier system?) - 03/29/09
When even the Washington Post notices a problem relating to immigration, you know it's a real problem. Thus it is that NC Aizenman and Lisa Rein offer "Easy-to-Get Licenses Expose Md. to Fraud/Out-of-State Illegal Immigrants Exploit Rules" (link). The WaPo appears to be trying to get Maryland to pass a Real ID-compliant two-tier licensing scheme under which illegal aliens would get a license to drive but not to do much more. However, while there is some PC beating around the bush, there also isn't the outright advocacy we've come to expect from the WaPo:
Maryland ...has become a magnet for illegal immigrants from Georgia to Delaware seeking driving privileges... Along with New Mexico, Hawaii and Washington state, Maryland does not check the immigration status of drivers when they apply for a license. The policy has made the state vulnerable to widespread fraud by illegal immigrants living outside Maryland -- as well as to criminals seeking to create false identities -- according to court records and interviews with state officials... Security is the chief concern cited by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and lawmakers as the General Assembly debates whether to require license-seekers to verify their lawful presence in the country. It's a change the Democratic-controlled legislature has resisted out of sensitivity to immigrants... Immigrant rights advocates support a two-tiered system that would also comply with federal law by allowing newcomers without proof of legal status to get a limited license for driving -- but not to board airplanes, enter federal buildings or cross borders. O'Malley and other opponents say that wouldn't stop the fraud problem... If it doesn't pass its own law, Maryland would be forced to meet an early deadline to put into effect other costly provisions of the Real ID law... ...Maryland's license is considered so insecure that some states, including Colorado, Arizona and Oklahoma, no longer accept it as a proof of identity for relocating drivers...
[she] noted that bribery still goes on in states where illegal immigrants can't get licenses. And she said that whatever residency fraud Maryland might prevent by tightening its rules would be outweighed by a rise in internal corruption and document mills... "The more difficult it is to obtain [a license] legally, the harder people are going to struggle to obtain it fraudulently," Propeack said.
The Maryland Senate has passed SB 186, which would give identification cards to those released from state prisons (link). That's not necessarily such a bad thing, but what is bad is that those prisons don't check the immigration status of their prisoners and an amendment to require that was quashed.
Washington Post/April 20, 2006/Darryl Fears/ link
A far-reaching collection of Maryland's Asian, Latino, black and women's rights leaders denounced Comptroller William Donald Schaefer yesterday for what they called a series of intolerant public statements -- and they told the former governor that it is "time to go."Wow, sounds serious. Except, the provided remarks don't exactly rise to any sort of questionable level that I can see. Rather, it appears to be a power play by far-leftie, Gramscian racial power groups. And, if that wasn't clear, there's this near the end:
Leaders of the National Capital Immigrant Coalition have their eyes on more than 277,000 black, Latino and Asian residents who are eligible to vote but have not yet registered.That last link provides another quote from this fine quote source:
"We have the power, we have the capacity, to remove the policymakers who hate us," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA of Maryland. "And let me tell you, we are going to do this."
"We are going to target [the MMP members] in a specific way... [by taking their own pictures]... Then we are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work... If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant. They are going to hear from us."Shouldn't the WaPo remove someone who says things like that from their Rolodexes?
It probably won't do any good, but you can contact here through this form.
The DC Metrorail system is considering adding signs in Spanish to their stations (via this; satire about this here). While the cost is fairly high ($500,000 to $900,000 per station), this is seemingly a minor matter. Until you read that they might add these signs under pressure from "immigration advocates".
The article "Maryland group helps immigrants get driver's licenses" may even describe illegal behavior on their part, but whether it actually occured as described and whether this behavior is in fact illegal is not known at this time. Hopefully someone will look into this:
At 5 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, dozens of Spanish-speaking immigrants gather inside the cafeteria of St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Riverdale, Md., to learn if someone who is in the United States illegally can get a driver's license.
The event has been organized by CASA de Maryland, a Silver Spring-based organization that deals with issues related to undocumented workers.
As parishioners from the 4 p.m. mass stream into the packed room, Kim Propeack, director of community organizing at CASA de Maryland, takes the floor. "Every year in Annapolis they introduce legislation against undocumented immigrants," she says. "We have beaten those attempts every year, so far."
Ms. Propeack hands the floor over to Francisco Cartagena, a CASA organizer who teaches audiences across Maryland how to navigate the treacherous seas of the Motor Vehicle Administration.
Mr. Cartagena explains the importance of the REAL ID Act approved by Congress in May. Murmurs and sidebar conversations can be heard as more people trickle in.
"In March 2003 some restrictions were applied to driver's licenses," Mr. Cartagena says. "Since May 10 of last year they have added other restrictions. Many people did not realize that it was necessary to have legal migration status to get a license." The room goes quiet.
He explains that it is now impossible to get a license in Virginia and the District of Columbia without full documentation. He says that in Maryland there is still a window of opportunity.
"The REAL ID Act is not currently approved in Maryland. We have three years," he says.
The simplest and yet the most pressing obstacle undocumented immigrants face is stating their address. Mr. Cartagena makes it clear that it is not uncommon for people to be unaware of where they live.
"You need to know your address by heart," he says. "People fail when they are asked to give an address. When they ask, 'Where do you live?' it is as if they have thrown cold water on them." He patiently explains that a complete address must include the city, state and ZIP code.
In lieu of the most common documents that prove identity, a social security or a green card, Mr. Cartagena suggests to the audience that they get a baptism certificate from their country of origin, or even a high school transcript, anything that has their date of birth.
Ms. Propeack interjects to warn about fraudulent international licenses sold for hundreds of dollars that are not valid proofs of identity for the MVA.
Mr. Cartagena resumes. "Our naivete is such that we think we can take a statement from a foreign bank to the MVA," he says. "Make sure that you get a statement from a U.S. bank."
"Many people rent a basement or a room without a written contract. Go to Office Depot or Staples, get a rental contract form and fill it. This document sticks to the law in Maryland. But if you write $200, they will ask you, 'Where are the $200 homes?'"
At 6:30 p.m. the meeting breaks up. Ms. Propeack and a CASA volunteer are surrounded by people and begin to field questions. Half an hour later they must leave the place to make room for a prayer meeting.
According to Mr. Cartagena, over the past two years CASA has educated about 20,000 people on getting a license. Of these, 3,000 have successfully gotten licenses. He says this was not one of CASA's main goals. Their aim was primarily to protect day laborers. But CASA realized it could also help immigrants get licenses. He crisscrosses Maryland every week to inform as many people as possible.
His is a race against time. By May 2008 all states will have to abide by the provisions of the REAL ID Act that would make it impossible for an undocumented worker to get a license.
ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland taxpayers deserve to know how much the state is paying to subsidize education, housing and health care for illegal aliens before it breaks the budget, two Republican delegates from Baltimore County say...
What's more, Mr. McDonough and Delegate Richard K. Impallaria said, they agree with immigrant-advocacy group CASA of Maryland's claim that Illegal aliens are being exploited by local employers, but said the problem goes deeper...
Earlier this month, CASA asked the Montgomery County Council to crack down on people who neglect the immigrants they hire by establishing a living wage of at least $10.50 an hour. The group also is requesting paid holidays, sick leave, vacation time and family and medical leave.
The delegates, who are co-sponsoring legislation for a study on illegal immigration for the second year, said last year CASA fought their bill, which would have provided basic numbers and exposed the economic impact and the exploitation of illegal immigrants.
"It seems like they wanted to cover up the problem that many of these people are illegals," Mr. McDonough said.
CASA officials did not return repeated calls to comment...