By J. Doug Gill, Maryland Statehouse Examiner
When I find myself in times of trouble, I don’t wait for Mother Mary to come my way, I simply seek out some of the ruinous hilarity that often emanates from the nation’s oldest – and arguably most dysfunctional – State House.
When gathered, Maryland lawmakers provide a fire hydrant-like spigot of merriment and mirth – allowing the citizens of this formerly Free State to laugh while crying as our jobs, civil rights and income are slowly legislated out from under us.
When the Asylum is out of session, however, the search for laughable idiocy is just a wee bit more challenging – only briefly – because Maryland is blessed with a plethora of slapstick politicos.
State senators who claim they didn’t know exchanging cash for favors could possibly be defined as bribery; Baltimore mayoral candidates who seek a tax on bullets as a way to lower the murder rate; a governor of a state that ranks 50th in job creation traveling to other states to share his economic ‘success’ stories; a fire-brand Republican delegate from Baltimore County considering a run for statewide office – this place is a veritable barrel full of giggles and it’s on display almost daily.
Now we can add a Magooby’s Joke House-worthy performance by CASA de Maryland (and its minions) to the abundant parade of comedy gold.
CASA, which stands for Central American Solidarity Association (not as charming when spelled out – the acronym makes it sound like a place where you’d order a cheese steak), has decided to sue the citizens of Maryland in order to prevent the petition drive against in-state tuition for illegal immigrants (and children thereof) from making it to referendum.
As you may recall, more than 130,000 Marylanders lent their John Hancock’s (or would that be Charles Carroll’s?) to a petition drive that halted the implementation of recently-passed legislation that would have provided college tuition assistance for those in this country illegally.
CASA – joined in this lawsuit by the Maryland State Education Association, SEIU Local 1199 (aren’t unions grand?) and a couple of unnamed illegals whose identities are being withheld to “protect them from harassment,” are charging that the petition signers, organizers and volunteers participated in a process that violated Maryland law.
Newsflash: Of the two groups – CASA and MDPetitions – the one that created, signed and volunteered on behalf of the right to referendum is most certainly not the one in violation of state (and federal) laws.
It is the hope of the plaintiffs that the Maryland State Board of Elections (the body that validated the signatures and is the target of the lawsuit) will be forced to invalidate the signatures – provided by 63,000 Republicans, 32,000 Democrats and 12,000 Independents – and have the court immediately implement the Maryland DREAM Act.
Look, I want Maryland to turn into a bankrupt, Spanish-speaking Third World State as much as the next Montgomery County Democrat, but at the same time I’m not quite sold on supporting a group that feels one doesn’t need an ID to vote and yet wants my petition signature invalidated because I didn’t include the period after my middle initial.
So while CASA ironically earns its street cred by simultaneously subverting the Law and cowering behind the Law’s protection, let’s dispel some in-state tuition myths, shall we?
One: while these illegal immigrant offspring may be someone’s child, they are by no means children. It was laughable to see the Catholic Conference (another comedic source) hold a press gathering flanked by a dozen or so elementary schoolers, implying that petitioners were denying these youngsters an educational opportunity. Nope, because federal law already says taxpayers have to educate the little tykes from kindergarten through the Senior Prom.
Cute, cuddly and victimized may make for a great photo op, but the in-state tuition bill affects only college-age adults.
Two: the only reason that taking this law to referendum jeopardizes lower tuition costs for military veterans is because state legislators had no problem hitching the taxpayer-funded education of those here illegally to the caissons of those who served this nation.
Not surprising that said action was lower than a one-legged alligator’s arse, because this is the bunch that put party over people while squelching the first attempt at slots parlors; added last minute pork projects at the end of session to circumvent both debate and the rules process; and used midnight vote tallies to cloak bad policy.
And that’s just the tip of the morally-depraved iceberg – what these lawmakers lack in cajones they certainly make up for in cowardice.
Three: DREAM Act supporters (and their shills in the complicit media) like to claim that these college-age adults (and their families) have to meet a ‘stringent criteria’ – such as paying taxes, signing up for selective service and hand-sewing a perfect replica of Betsy Ross’ original Stars & Stripes – before qualifying for the subsidized, reduced tuition when in fact taxes need only be filed – not paid.
Incredibly, a provision that would have required illegal immigrants to show proof of income tax withheld was struck from an earlier version of the bill. See: CASA owns Maryland officials for reasons why.
Four: provisions such as the aforementioned – along with any other effort to enforce immigration laws – are continually thwarted by a legislature so deep in CASA’s pocket that they have lint in their ears.
In a July 14 article in the Washington Post, reporter David Montgomery wrote a love letter to CASA de Maryland, and more specifically Executive Director Gustav Torres.
In a manner that can only be described as the print equivalent of a deep, wet kiss with lots of tongue, Montgomery marveled at the way Torres holds sway over Maryland’s top officials.
While attending a CASA celebration for SEIU President Mary Kay Henry (gee, I wonder why Local 1199 signed on to the lawsuit?), Montgomery noted that among “swaggering honchos of Big Labor… like-minded politicians, soft-spoken clergy, and cunning idealists” was state Comptroller Peter Franchot.
The man holding the taxpayer purse strings gave Montgomery’s story its money quote, gushing proudly that, “when Gustav Torres calls I generally get in my car and go see what he wants.”
What he wants, Mr. Comptroller, is for Maryland taxpayers to continue funding an organization that thumbs its nose at the rule of law, rewards bad behavior, boldly announces its support and assistance for those here illegally and then brazenly demands that taxpayers fund all of the above.
That Torres and CASA can say jump and those in elected office reply with a ‘how high?’ should ring alarm bells from Ocean City to Deep Creek Lake – but it doesn’t, because Bonnie-Blue Maryland legislators helped create the political behemoth to which they are now beholden.
Keep in mind that nearly half of CASA’s $6 million budget comes from local, state and federal appropriations, and that CASA uses a significant portion of that money to help illegal immigrants.
The renovation of their Langley Park mansion headquarters – which was sold by Sawyer Realty to CASA for just a dollar – was also partly funded with public money.
And not only does the Maryland legislature continue to shovel funding in CASA’s direction, they do so with a blind eye to the organization’s antics.
Under any other circumstances a publically-funded organization caught in the act violating state law would, at the very least, warrant an investigation.
And yet, thanks to Attorney General Doug Gansler – who is not exactly the doppelganger of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio – CASA is allowed to operate unfettered and use the news media to help force the legal citizens of this state to pick up the tab for the continuing education of those who shouldn’t be in this state in the first place.
Gansler, by the way, offered an opinion claiming – since the language of the bill excludes legal immigrants – that those possessing student visas could simply overstay that visa and then qualify for tuition benefits.
Welcome to Maryland, where we not only ignore the law, we’ll teach you how to break the law and then reward you for doing just that. Kind of makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over, huh?
Simply put: those entering this country through legal channels are little more than ignorant – and apparently uneducated – chumps.
At its most basic – the most bottomest of bottom lines – the CASA and Associates lawsuit seeks to take the vote away from those whose legal status allows them democracy’s highest privilege, while at the same time permitting those who have no right to vote – nor a legal standing – to determine the outcome of this outrageous legislation.
According to CASA, legal residents have no right to decide this issue.
Pretty damn funny, huh? The disenfranchising of more than 130,000 voters may just provide the biggest laugh of them all.
… Obviously, “illegal” is still “illegal,” except in Annapolis, MD. …