- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2007

If Montgomery County [Md.] residents thought their compassionate, liberal state legislators were prepared to help them maintain their property values, they were mistaken. How else can one interpret the buck-passing from two state lawmakers, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez and Sen. Richard Madaleno, both Montgomery County Democrats, at last Thursday’s community meeting at Wheaton High School?

Wheaton residents already host one of the day-labor centers run by CASA of Maryland, the taxpayer-subsidized illegal-alien advocacy group headed by Gustavo Torres, who is a political ally of Gov. Martin O’Malley. And now they are rightly concerned that the influx of illegal aliens is damaging the quality of life. But as Natasha Altamirano of The Washington Times reported on the community meeting, “Maryland lawmakers provided few answers to Wheaton residents seeking an end to overcrowded homes, a parking shortage and other problems created by what they say is an influx of illegal aliens in their community.”

One Wheaton resident after another complained about multiple families crowding into single-family homes as well as evictions and property condemnations at homes occupied by illegal-alien families. “The Wheaton area is in a decline,” said Nicholas Breul, who said that his property value is plummeting as a result of the illegals.

In response, state legislators who support in-state tuition and driver’s licenses for illegal aliens — the very policies that have helped make Maryland a magnet for illegals — protested that they can’t do much of anything to help Wheaton homeowners.

“Every single issue that you all have raised is a local county issue,” Mrs. Gutierrez said, adding that “None of us sitting up here can do anything about it. Immigration is a federal issue.” For his part, Mr. Madaleno also said the matter was a county matter, but with a different twist: He suggested that if the neighbors are bothered by overcrowding problems in Wheaton, that zoning changes might be necessary to accommodate the large families crowding into single-family homes.

Natalie Cantor, director of the Mid-County Regional Services Center, said County Executive Isaiah Leggett has made code enforcement a priority, putting money in the budget for a single new inspector, but added that the question of making the housing code more stringent “is a whole separate issue.” In other words, Wheaton residents will have to fend for themselves.

We know that CASA will deny that the nearby day-labor center it operates at University Boulevard and Veirs Mill Road has anything to do with the decline in property values, overcrowding and other problems plaguing Wheaton, and it will probably say that, even if the day-labor center turns out to be part of the problem, the opponents can’t prove that people using the centers are illegally in the United States. This latter point is particularly disingenuous because CASA refuses to monitor the citizenship of its clients as a matter of principle. Meanwhile, the quality of life in Wheaton and many other communities in the Washington area continues to decline as a result of the influx of illegals.

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