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November 24, 2008

A Saturday with the Sheriff

Steven R. Berryman

On Saturday I found myself waiting outside the Church of the Brethren for Chuck Jenkins, sheriff of Frederick County. He was late, but I don’t blame the man, as he is in highest demand during these troubled and newly formative days.


He was invited to a Men’s Breakfast to speak at the church; he spoke about these challenging times, and what to do about them. I did not attend the speech.


My mission was, by prior arrangement, to whisk our sheriff away down I-270 to visit a group of activists and concerned citizens in Prince George’s County Maryland, hosted by the anti-illegal immigration group I work with, Help Save Maryland (HSM).


Chuck brought his off duty sidearm and a 15-pound briefcase full of information on the program he spearheaded to detect and deport illegal immigrants from Frederick County. I brought a tablet of notepaper and my attitude.


This trip was all about outreach and our solidarity as Marylanders.


Indeed, with a Maryland driver’s License available to anyone without proof of citizenship, we share the common negative side effects of being a magnet for criminal-illegals with PG County.


You could correctly say that Maryland is a “Sanctuary State” for illegal immigrants, in that the top-down direction from Gov. Martin O’Malley is to stall the implementation of the “REAL ID” identification program requiring proof of citizenship as adopted from the recommendations of our own 9/11 Commission.


To make matters worse, our state is now in possible violation of the Hatch Act by its financial support of the Central American Solidarity Association, known as CASA.


CASA is in full political mode and was recently involved in our voting process.


Voter registration signs had been plastered to their office buildings and day-laborer centers “en Espanol.” Mostly non-citizens, and without requirement to prove as much, a strangely high percentage are encouraged to register as a Democrat – and do so.


The above is facilitated with the aforementioned assistance of taxpayer funding.


CASA de Maryland has a website and outreach program that attracts illegals and includes graphic instructional materials to teach them how to evade detection by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. It urges non-cooperation and silence. There’s even a section on what to do with your family when a member is arrested.


Our governor has facilitated grants to CASA of over $2.7 million and another $720,000 for construction of a headquarters building in Tacoma Park. This, in an era where PG County is currently furloughing their workers by up to 80 hours each due to a runaway budget.


And this was before the effects of the national economic meltdown have been fully felt!


Pree Glenn-Graves was the group’s coordinator for that county, and we were set up in a conference room deep in the bowels of the Oxon Hill Public Library.


Coordinator Pree is highly active and a forceful speaker. She gained prominence and the national spotlight recently speaking before the National Press Club on the occasion of HSM joining forces formally with Judicial Watch and other regional anti-illegal organizations


Attendees at our awareness meeting included the young, the elderly, the black, and the white. The complexion of Prince George’s County is notably black, and its issues with illegals are even worse because of this.


Blacks compete more directly for the same jobs with illegals than do whites. Also, the peer pressure to do something about the infiltration of illegals is made more complex as they are also people of color for the most part.


Crime is, of course, the main cause of the sheriff’s interest. With jobs being lost, and desperation setting in among border- crossers already here, there will surely be a spike in crime as a result. This is happening during a period when staffs and capabilities among all law enforcement may have to be cut.


The Frederick County statistics already bear out that incarcerated illegals are mostly from El Salvador, and then from Mexico; most of the remainder are from South America.


Gangs, including the dreaded MS-13, draw 80% of their membership from El Salvador. Illegals comprise over 50% of gang membership nationwide.


In Frederick County over the last month gang activity included a screwdriver stabbing in the eye and brain of a cyclist, and a 2-pound plus cocaine bust.


An illegal was arrested for murder one and home invasion in Silver Spring. Another illegal was arrested for the bus murder of Tai Lam, an innocent bystander.


As the sheriff shared with me during a moment of candor recently, “Steve, we’ve got to do something.”


He knows that illegals must be fought in each county to be successful in Maryland. Otherwise they simply shift from one county to another, based on pressures currently being brought to bear.


In Montgomery County their own police gang task-force unit reported recently that gang-related crimes rose 20% in units to 571 events between 2006 and 2007. The trend is ominous and they are just to our south.


To avert a major conversion of Maryland into another L.A. County, or a Phoenix, the sheriff knows we must act now, and he’s spending his own time to spread the word about the effects of his cooperative program with ICE, the already much-discussed 287g program. This is causing some illegals to self deport already, and for others to go away to other states.


Over the past six months, our jails have in process 251 “detainers” on illegals, 90% of whom are eventually deported. That’s some progress!


The above happened without a single reported instance of profiling or discrimination.


Our sheriff is making a difference and is setting the standard. Currently there are over 100 other counties across the U.S. waiting in line for the 287g anti-illegal training from ICE. Not from Maryland.


With our outreach meeting accomplished, and others empowered, we headed back up north to be with our families for the rest of the day.


We call upon the sheriffs of our other Maryland counties to stand with us. We will be offering another outreach to our brothers in Montgomery County in December.


Wish us luck!


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