ROCKVILLE, Md.—Spurred on by hearing about a slew of alleged rapes committed by illegal aliens in recent weeks, protesters gathered in Montgomery County, Maryland, to decry sanctuary policies.
Since July 25, the county has been rocked by rape allegations, for which nine illegal aliens have been arrested and charged. Victims include 11-, 12-, and 15-year-old girls.
At least five of those arrested had been previously deported, were slated for deportation, or were released from jail without being handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which had placed a hold on them, according to ABC7 reports.
Michelle Malkin, author and political commentator, urged rallygoers to hold government officials accountable for sanctuary policies.
She accused Democrat County Executive Marc Elrich—who spoke across the road at a pro-sanctuary counterprotest—of choosing to side with illegal aliens “and basically embracing the mantle of sanctuary anarchist.”
Over the past 15 years, politicians have been strengthening Montgomery County’s sanctuary policies, which have protected illegal aliens from federal immigration authorities, as well as provided benefits such as driver’s licenses and in-state tuition.
On July 22, Elrich signed an executive order that prohibits county officials from asking anyone their immigration status or to assist in an immigration investigation without a court order. It also closes nonpublic areas of county jails to ICE agents. Elrich has since said, on Aug. 27, that he might amend portions of the executive order, but released no specifics.
In an interview with WMAL on Aug. 28, Elrich denied that his county was a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, saying there are cases where jail officials do communicate with ICE.
“We’ve made it very clear that in cases of people who are being released, whether it’s on bail or whether it’s at the end of a sentence, if they’ve committed a serious crime—rape, murder, child abuse, and any of these serious things—we make the phone call to ICE to let them know that this person’s being released,” Elrich said.
In one of the recent rape cases, Rodrigo Castro-Montejo, an illegal alien from El Salvador, was charged and released from jail on bond. According to ABC7 reports, one ICE agent was notified several hours before Castro-Montejo was released. However the agent was on vacation, and Montgomery County jail officials failed to follow ICE protocol and call its 24/7 number.
Battling Sanctuary Policies
Critics say egregious crimes can be avoided if illegal aliens are turned over to ICE if they’re caught for other crimes.
A year ago, Oluwakayode Adebusuyi, a Nigerian who has been charged with rape, was arrested for 2nd-degree assault, 4th-degree sex offense, and false imprisonment, according to court records. The prosecution dropped the charges.
Malkin said sanctuary policies are terrorizing immigrant communities by keeping criminals on the streets.
“There is no safe space from illegal alien sanctuaries anymore, and that’s why I’m here. This is the front lines. This is ground zero in the battle against illegal alien sanctuary,” Malkin said at the Sept. 13 rally. “To save America from destruction, we have to stop our own tax dollars from being used to subsidize the destruction of our country and the endangerment of our people.”
Elrich, however, said that it’s President Donald Trump who has “terrified everybody” by saying all illegal immigrants are subject to deportation.
“It’s really partly the definition of terrorism—is to take the civilian population and subject them to constant fear. That is terrorism in its basic form,” Elrich said during a brief press conference on July 22.
Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton said the organization just filed a FOIA request with Montgomery County to find out the details of its sanctuary policy.
“And, yes, we’re willing to sue if we don’t get the answers,” Fitton said at the rally. “We’ve been battling sanctuary policies in Maryland and Montgomery County for too long.”
On Aug. 28, Judicial Watch sued Santa Clara County, California, on behalf of taxpayers, to stop its sanctuary policy.
“[And] we have a trial scheduled for early next year against San Francisco Sheriff’s department over San Francisco’s sanctuary policy,” Fitton said.
Like Montgomery County, Santa Clara County Board policy requires ICE agents to present a “judicial arrest warrant” in order for the county to transfer custody of an alien.
But Judicial Watch states that a judicial arrest warrant isn’t required for federal authorities to detain aliens, “especially for those who had been incarcerated or arrested by local authorities.”
FBI Husband Killed
Marla Wolff talked about the death of her husband at the hands of an illegal alien with a long rap sheet, including two DUIs, cocaine possession, and endangerment of property and life.
FBI supervisory special agent Carlos Wolff, an immigrant from Venezuela, was killed, along with deputy chief state fire marshal Sander Cohen, on Dec. 8, 2015, when illegal alien Roberto Garza Palacios hit them with his car. Wolff was 36 and Cohen was 33.
“Their lives were robbed,” Wolff said. “And Carlos and I have two children, and so my children don’t have their dad. They will never get to see him on this earth again, and he doesn’t get to see them grow up. They were 2 and 7 at the time of the accident.”
Wolff said Palacios was wanted by ICE in 2015 and in 2017, but Montgomery County’s sanctuary policies prevented the agency from gaining custody.
“So, three months before the accident … he was let back out on the public and he was let back out on the road,” Wolff said. She said advocacy group Casa de Maryland, which gets government funding, paid Palacios’s $15,000 bail and the $280 fine he received for the deaths.
Local resident Kathryn Ader, 19, said she is worried about the number of rapes in the county and joined the rally to show her support for repealing the executive order.
“I want the sanctuary laws to discontinue,” she said. “We’ve had an outbreak of sexual assaults in Montgomery County and a lot … could have been prevented had we not had these laws that protect illegals.”
Fred Kelly, 76, said he supports legal immigration, but the level of illegal immigration in the county is contributing to lawlessness.
“My grandparents came here legally—they went through the regular process,” he said. “And all I’m looking for is for new immigrants to follow the same rules, instead of being lawless.”
Maria, a small-business owner who declined to give her surname due to fears of being doxxed, said she attended the rally after hearing of the young women and girls being raped, allegedly by illegal immigrants who had ICE detainers on them.
“It’s not fair. It’s not safe,” she said. “I have kids of my own and I would hate to know that something like this happened to one of my kids. I can’t even imagine how the parents of those kids are feeling. And then, to feel doubly abused by having those people get let back out in the community. It’s a problem.”
The number of reported rapes in Montgomery County has been steadily increasing over the past several years, according to Montgomery County Department of Police reports.
From 2009 through 2014, the number held steady at between 102 and 129 rapes per year. In 2015, the number jumped to 278, mainly due to reporting changes to align with a new FBI definition, as well as adding child rapes to the number (previously counted under child abuse).
Since then, the number has increased to 309 in 2016, 398 in 2017, and 509 in 2018, according to the latest annual police report.