Once upon a time, there was a charming leafy well-to-do suburban county just outside Washington, D.C. And then it got taken over by people with some very bad ideas, and much of it became a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden disaster area. To be sure, the problems of Montgomery County, Maryland, didn’t start overnight, and they aren’t all due solely to illegal immigration. But that’s undeniably been a huge part of it, and it’s still only getting worse.
The statistics are pretty shocking. Comparing the first six months of this year to the first six months of 2017, the county’s police reported at the end of July that “violent gang-related crime is up 67 percent, gang-related robberies are up 36 percent while gang-related assaults are up 43 percent.” Additionally, “sex offenses have risen by more than 53 percent,” which Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger aptly described as “[o]ne of the things that is most alarming.”
In December of last year, with gang crime already surging, Manger may have been trying to downplay the impact of illegal immigration yet inadvertently highlighted it when he said, “[t]hese kids are born and raised in the U.S., and then the other half of our gang activity is the ethnic-based gangs who align themselves with folks from their country of origin[.]”
Half? While Manger may have been speaking figuratively or exaggerating, that sure sounds like as much as “half” of the county’s gang members could be illegal aliens. We know for sure that at least some of them are. So maybe as much as half of the county’s gang crime is by people who shouldn’t even be here. It may not literally be half, but it’s clearly some significant percentage.
What has the county actually done to get to this point? They’ve poured gasoline on an already raging inferno. From 2014 to the present, they’ve ratcheted up one reckless sanctuary policy after another. Their latest scheme was a proposal to fund lawyers to fight the deportation of illegal aliens in the county, with the money coming from the county’s remaining law-abiding taxpayers of course. That fortunately (and surprisingly) got shot down after it met with fierce resistance, but one can only assume it’ll be back.
And not to be outdone, of course, the county’s municipalities have been jumping on the sanctuary bandwagon, too, with disastrous policies of their own. Takoma Park became Maryland’s first sanctuary city all the way back in 1985. Rockville, the county’s largest city, passed its sanctuary ordinance in June of last year. And now Gaithersburg, its second-largest, looks to be on that path as well, with a “Freedom City” ordinance in the works inspired by lawless Austin, Texas.
Meanwhile, the violence by these gang members, particularly MS-13, is completely out of control. From stabbing to decapitation to beating teenage girls with baseball bats to prolific armed robberies, it’s obvious who really has free rein of Montgomery County’s streets, and it isn’t the police, let alone law-abiding citizens.
Albert Einstein is supposed to have said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” The same line has also been attributed to the equally quotable wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and probably others. But regardless of who said it, it’s true, and Montgomery County is doing practically everything possible to prove it. If they actually want to change things for the better, maybe it’s time to try something else.
David Jaroslav writes for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.