February 04, 2009

Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home

Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home


from Steve Lane, atticlane@yahoo.com; Rossana Baptista, rossana4444@yahoo.com;  Fran Pollner,  franpollner@yahoo.com; Scott Tsikerdanos, STsikerdanos@senate.state.md.us

Bill to Keep the Maryland Guard at Home Introduced in State Assembly
Grassroots Coalition Urges Quick Approval

Olney--A coalition of 24 organizations across the state of Maryland is urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation requiring that the Maryland National Guard be used for legal purposes, and no other. The legislation, introduced by Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) in the Senate and Delegate Jill Carter (D-41) in the House of Delegates, states that the governor shall refuse to release the Maryland National Guard into federal control without either a legal justification or a declaration of war. If the Guard is called into federal service for a legal reason, and that reason expires, then the governor shall request return of the Guard to his control.  Cosponsors in the Senate include Jamie Raskin (D-20), Paul Pinsky (D-22), David Harrington (D-47), Catherine Pugh (D-40), and Michael Lenett (D-19).

The legal basis for calling the National Guard to serve in Iraq is the 2002 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was limited to the purposes of defending the national security from Iraqi threats and enforcing UN Security Council Resolutions left over from the 1991 Gulf War. The purposes set forth in the AUMF have been achieved: Clearly, Iraq does not pose a threat to our national security, and no UN Resolutions remain to be enforced.  Neither the AUMF nor any other law authorizes an indefinite assignment of State Guard members to the National Guard of the United States. Thus, there is no legal basis for sending any National Guard members to Iraq.

"With the war in Iraq, the President unilaterally changed the basic mission of the National Guard, from protection at home to military adventurism abroad," commented Jean Athey, coordinator of PeaceAction Montgomery, one of the Campaign member groups. "This change came at a steep price, for National Guard members and for the state of Maryland. Guard deployments have caused financial and emotional disruption to many Maryland families. Multiple deployments have made the situation worse. Moreover, we believe that Maryland's civil defense and emergency response capabilities have been severely undermined by requisition of the National Guard. We also believe that the National Guard should not take the place of regular soldiers. The primary purpose of the Guard, in our view, is to defend the state of Maryland, not serve as a back-door draft."
The bill, SB 501, has been assigned to the Judicial Proceedings Committee and will be considered in February. The Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard Home is organizing a Lobby Night for Feb. 23. Information on the the bill's status is available at http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/billfile/SB0501.htm. Until the text is included on the State's Web site, it may be read here: http://www.mdguardhome.org/legal.html
For more information: www.MDGuardHome.org

February 03, 2009

stop anti-immigrant actions by Montgomery County

From Casa of Maryland and Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez : please help us stop anti-immigrant actions by Montgomery County local government. Please call or email County Executive Ike Leggett:

Dear Friends of our Immigrant Communities,

We have an EMERGENCY here in Montgomery County. Please read the ALERT below and then pick up your phone and/or write/email your OPINION directly to County Executive Ike Leggett BEFORE he makes a final decision on Tuesday, Feb 3rd!  

Montgomery County Executive I
ke Leggett is being pressured to grant Mo. Co. police new powers to detain arrested foreign-born persons indefinitely, while authorizing calls to federal immigration enforcement (ICE) for possible deportation action. This proposal has raised serious human rights as well as a civil liberty concerns which remain unanswered.  This undefined, unwritten, and ill-conceived law enforcement policy change with zero training, zero oversight, and zero accountability has  discrimination and racial profiling written all over it. If this practice is adopted, the legal and civil rights ramifications are going to be complex and hurtful.

Please express your strong OPPOSITION to this highly flawed proposal. Your help with calls, emails, and letters is urgently needed! 



Montgomery County could take a major step  down a  slippery slope to creating a discriminatory and hostile environment for all immigrants.   County Executive Isiah Leggett has indicated that as soon  as next week he may announce changes to Montgomery County’s long  standing policy against local police enforcing federal immigration laws. For years, the County’s policies have considered this the job of the U.S.federal government.   Though no written proposals have been presented for review and consideration by the County Council, the MD Judiciary, legal and immigration law experts, public safety officials, community advocates, and the general public,  Mr. Leggett is considering granting new unrestricted powers to Mo. Co. police to notify U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when  individuals who are foreign born are arrested (not yet convicted) as suspects of committing both misdemeanors and  felonies.  

Please CALL or EMAIL Mr. Leggett to let him  know you oppose this highly flawed change in policy that targets all foreign-born residents in our County.  Montgomery County is not Prince William County and we do not want the County police to take any steps towards enforcing federal immigration laws, while further alienating the immigrant communities and destroying the public’s trust in law enforcement.   
You can call Mr. Leggett at: (240) 777-2500.  
Or e-mail his office at: voicemail@montgomerycountymd.gov  or

Please cc or bcc Justiceinmontgomerycounty@gmail.com

Suggested Talking Points:

--I oppose changing current County law enforcement policies to authorize police detentions based on an individual’s place of birth

--I oppose Mo. CO. police collaboration with ICE in enforcing federal immigration laws.
--I support Montgomery County’s long standing tradition which values the contributions of our productive, diverse, and hard working immigrant communities.  
--I support policies that strengthen the public’s trust and protect individual civil liberties and human rights.  I do not want  Montgomery County to become the next Prince William County.

Below is a brief draft LETTER you can cut and paste or modify to communicate your personal opposition to this proposal.

Dear  County Executive Leggett:  

I am a concerned  Montgomery County resident and voter.  Although there is  no question that I believe that hardened criminals, especially those who  engage in violent behavior, should be tried and incarcerated when found guilty, I believe that using  place of birth and/or immigration status as a means to combat violent crime in Montgomery County  is wrong for a number of  reasons:  

          Experiences in this County (or in the country) DO NOT support the existence of a  connection between violent crimes and immigration status. On the contrary, a number of reputable studies show that immigrants, both documented and  undocumented, commit fewer crimes than U.S-born residents.  

          Recently in Montgomery County, the alleged need for targeting undocumented immigrants has been goaded by extremist, anti-immigrant  groups, such as Help Save Maryland. Other jurisdictions such as Frederick County and Prince William County, Va, have adopted anti-immigrant measures that have achieved little  more than vilifying members of those communities. Recently  committed murders in  Montgomery County are being used by such such groups to demand  similar measures in Montgomery County and to seek to validate their unfounded claim that “immigrants are violent criminals”.   

          Changing  Montgomery County law enforcement policies regarding detention of foreign-born suspects and notification of Immigrations and  Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials will affect public safety  and undermine the immigrant community's trust of the police.  Many  crimes, including recent murders, were solved through cooperation from the immigrant community, including undocumented  immigrants.  

          Law enforcement officials, the State’s attorney,  and the MD Judicial system have many effective legal tools at their disposal for dealing with  violent criminals to ensure they are detained and not freed to  commit other crimes.  

In short, I oppose  any change to Montgomery County’s long standing policies regarding its treatment of foreign born residents.   Montgomery County should not become the new Prince William County in Virginia.  This change in police enforcement policies is a step in the wrong direction,  and I strongly oppose it.

    (Please put your name  and city or area where you live in the County.)
Concerned  Montgomery County voter
Please send a copy to:  
and to
County  Council President Phil Andrews at councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov

February 02, 2009

THIS WEEK: Upcoming events in the MD, DC, VA area

THIS WEEK: Upcoming events in the MD, DC, VA area this week

1. MCPA, DFMC, PDA, Meetup Meeting
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at Saigonese 7 PM
Saigonese Restaurant 11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring (Wheaton)
Short walk from the Wheaton Metro / Red Line

2. Eco-Justice Cafe' All Ages Family Friendly Event!
Friday, February 6, 2009 6 to 10 PM
Univ. of DC Firebird Inn 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC

3. Experience Dan Reed's inspirational, wonderful music live
Sunday, February 8, 2009 at Jammin' Java 8 PM
Jammin' Java 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, Virginia 22180


1. MCPA, DFMC, PDA, Meetup Meeting
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at Saigonese 7 PM
Saigonese Restaurant 11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring (Wheaton)
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring%2C MD 20902
Short walk from the Wheaton Metro / Red Line
Parking in the lot across the street

This is an important meeting to discuss and plan 2009 efforts. The
Elections are over, we did great, now we have to dive into 2009. We're
discussing special events, forming a steering committee, visits to and
with legislators, etc. Please bring $15 for 2009 dues.


2. Eco-Justice Cafe' All Ages Family Friendly Event!
Friday, February 6, 2009 6 to 10 PM
Univ. of DC Firebird Inn 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC
Just above the Van Ness/UDC metro stop (red line)

If you are passionate about social justice and/or the environment and
want to connect with others like you - then come and join us! Featuring
food music, poetry, beer, an open mic session, tabling organizations and
more. "Slow Food" Panel Discussion from 6:30 to 7pm with Leigh Haughter,
organic farmer; Ayize Sabater, co-founder of Delights of the Garden, and
Ed Bruske, Chef and DC Urban Gardener. UDC Sustainability Society will
meet at 6pm at the Cafe. $10 students, $15 others.


3. Experience Dan Reed's inspirational, wonderful music live
Sunday, February 8, 2009 at Jammin' Java 8 PM
Jammin' Java 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, Virginia 22180

Public Transportation: Closest Metro stop: Vienna - the end of the
Orange line

Solo acoustic all ages show. Call 703-255-1566 for more details and
Admission only $12:

Listen online to Dan's music and learn more about Dan: http://danreed.com/
Watch "The Dictator" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzf6xE4zdpo

With Florida-based LIQUID MUSIC GROUP's upcoming release of the new Dan
Reed CD "Coming up for Air", Dan presents a group of songs that mirror
this life journey. "What I have learned most on this path is that music
brings people together and in a world of war, corruption, disease, and
environmental destruction... 'together' is a good direction. I am
constantly inspired and hopeful for the future of music. It is an
amazing playground to feel connected inside and out. This creative
journey has been a very wild and harrowing ride, but the view has been
worth the price of admission."