The illegal immigration debate has become an urgent focal point of American politics. Liberal politicians from the White House on down have vigorously advocated for illegal immigrant amnesty and lax border enforcement in a naked attempt to bolster prospective voter rolls.
This controversy has been brewing for some time in Maryland, whose Hispanic population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. Under Governor Martin O’Malley’s sanctuary policies the state has become an illegal alien magnet. The current cost of illegals in Maryland is estimated to be $1.7 billion per year, more than three-quarters of the state’s $2 billion structural deficit.
Taxpayer ire overflowed this March with the passage of Maryland’s Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, granting in-state college tuition rates to illegals. A nonpartisan coalition of concerned Marylanders launched a petition drive to delay the measure and place it on the 2012 ballot as a referendum. They needed 55,736 signatures. They received twice that amount.
The driving force behind the DREAM Act was CASA de Maryland, an increasingly vocal advocate for Maryland’s illegals. The group’s aggressive tactics and questionable dealings helped provoke the outrage that drove the DREAM Act petition to overwhelming victory. CASA’s defeat, however, did not deter them. They recruited longtime Democratic National Committee chief lawyer, Joseph E. Sandler, an attorney who specializes in harassing conservatives with frivolous litigation threats. They have now sued Maryland’s Election Commission to overturn the petition.
CASA receives about 40 percent of its funding from Maryland state and local governments—almost $5 million of taxpayer dollars in 2010—and spends most of it lobbying for illegal immigrant perks and exceptions. Their recent lawsuit is a blatant attempt to derail the democratic process itself. So it is a fair question to ask: what is CASA de Maryland?
CASA de Maryland was founded by a young activist named Bette “Rainbow” Hoover. CASA’s name is a metaphor for the organization’s duplicitous nature. CASA means “house” or “home” in Spanish; however, “CASA” is actually an acronym for Central American Solidarity Association. It is more in keeping with the designs and philosophies of other Central American solidarity organizations formed at the time, like the communist-founded Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES).
It was incorporated on February 28, 1985, but Hoover said it actually began operating in 1983, based out of Takoma Park Presbyterian Church in Takoma Park, Maryland. From its modest beginnings, CASA has grown into a multi-million dollar operation, with influence reaching to the Obama White House. It is headquartered in the newly-renovated (with $10 million in taxpayer dollars), 18,000 square foot, 28-room, Langley Park Mansion, right up the street from Takoma Park. It boasts a community center and five day-labor centers spread over a 35-mile radius from the Washington, D.C. metro area to Baltimore. Recently, CASA created a political-action arm, “CASA in Action,” based at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, bringing CASA full circle back to where it all began.
Hoover described CASA’s early days: “We just had to do something. People were coming here who really needed help…” She said that virtually all were illegals fleeing El Salvador’s civil war. Hoover added that they decided early on to help all comers, including communist guerillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).
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