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County neutral on alien policies
Question of the Day
Montgomery County will not follow Prince William and Loudoun counties in denying public services to illegal aliens, but neither will the county enact any sanctuary policies, County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett said yesterday.
“It’s not something that would be on the agenda for Montgomery County,” he said of policies such as prohibiting police in all cases from inquiring about immigration status or giving identification cards to undocumented residents. “I think it would add to the toxic debate we’ve had and I don’t think that would be helpful at this point.”
Prince William and Loudoun counties passed measures last month limiting access to county services for illegal aliens, but neither county has yet decided which services it can legally deny.
The Prince William ordinance also strengthens immigration enforcement by police, and the Loudoun County measure punishes landlords who rent to illegal aliens.
J. Walter Tejada, a member of the Arlington County Board of Supervisors, who also spoke at the forum, said his county would not crack down on illegal aliens. Immigrants are responsible for economic and job growth in the community, he said.
He will introduce a measure “highlighting the positive contributions and values of immigrants” at the board’s meeting next month, he said.
Mr. Tejada, a Democrat, voiced strong support for the day-laborer sites run by the county, which are often frequented by immigrants.
“The reality is, workers are looking for employment and employers are looking for workers, and it’s best if it happens in a coordinated manner in work sites,” he said.
Montgomery County also operates day-laborer sites, which have drawn protest from those who oppose the county’s financial support for groups that run the sites, such as the immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland.
Last month, dozens of people gathered at a day-laborer site in Derwood near the Shady Grove Metro station to protest illegal immigration.
Mr. Leggett said the county has been operating the sites since 1994 and they have been “welcomed fairly well.”
By Michael P. Orsi
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