November 3, 2021
IRLI investigation shows radical anti-borders group has large influence in county policies
WASHINGTON—An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has obtained email communications that indicate an extremist anti-borders organization has an alarming amount of influence over immigration policy in one of the most prominent counties in suburban Washington, D.C.
IRLI investigators received emails via a records request which revealed a close relationship and policy coordination between staff in Montgomery County, Md., government and CASA de Maryland, an anti-borders group that advocates for the abolishment of ICE and provides support to illegal aliens.
The emails reveal that Montgomery County staff sought guidance and approval from CASA before County Executive Marc Elrich issued “The Promoting Community Trust Executive Order” in July 2019, an executive order that further restricted county law enforcement’s ability to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other federal immigration agencies. That order sparked national media attention as a string of illegal aliens in the county were charged with rape or other sexual assaults in the weeks following Elrich’s signing of the order.
Montgomery County’s relationship and coordination with CASA extended well beyond the formation of Elrich’s executive order. Obtained emails show Montgomery County employees held numerous meetings with CASA members about various other immigration issues, such as how to evade ICE apprehension, coordination against ICE activity, and public funding for non-citizens in immigration court.
In one email, Gustavo Torres, the executive director of CASA, sent a direct email to Elrich himself. In the message – dated April 17, 2019, Torres thanked Elrich for meeting with him at an earlier time and wanted to follow up on a conversation the two had about the county’s Immigrant Defense Fund.
While Torres was happy that funding would likely increase to $500,000, he expressed concern that the money wouldn’t go to services directly to his liking. “However, we still feel strongly that the money is not going to where it was originally intended, namely towards helping Montgomery County residents currently in ICE detention afford legal representation,” Torres wrote (underlining by Torres).
“The results of this investigation are disturbing and confirm what many people have long suspected,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Anti-borders politicians are working hand-in-glove with radical anti-borders groups to import endless numbers of illegal aliens with little concern for the safety and well-being of their legal residents. People in these communities need to let their elected officials know that such nefarious relationships will not be tolerated.”
In fiscal year 2021, CASA received $165,000 for “immigrant legal services” alone from the county government.
CASA’s influence has been growing both in Maryland and nationally. The organization helped plan the “Welcome Back Congress: Thousands to March to U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.” rally on September 21, 2021 in the nation’s capital. Participants – which CASA claimed were in the thousands – trekked across ICE’s national headquarters and the Capitol Building, demanding a path to citizenship for the millions living here illegally. Speakers at the rally included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Ilhan Omar. CASA’s leader, Torres, stood behind Omar as she addressed the crowd.
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