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 Oâ€™Malleyâ€™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 stateâ€™s $2 billion structural deficit.
Taxpayer ire overflowed this March with the passage of Marylandâ€™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.
CASA de Maryland
The driving force behind the DREAM Act was CASA de Maryland, an increasingly vocal advocate for Marylandâ€™s illegals. The groupâ€™s aggressive tactics and questionable dealings helped provoke the outrage that drove the DREAM Act petition to overwhelming victory. CASAâ€™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 Marylandâ€™s Election Commission to overturn the petition.5
CASA receives about 40 percent of its funding from Maryland state and local governmentsâ€”almost $5 million of taxpayer dollars in 2010â€”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 â€śRainbowâ€ť Hoover. CASAâ€™s name is a metaphor for the organizationâ€™s duplicitous nature. CASA means â€śhouseâ€ť or â€śhomeâ€ť in Spanish; however, â€śCASAâ€ť 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-founded6 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 1983,7 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, â€śCASA in Action,â€ť based at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, bringing CASA full circle back to where it all began.
Hoover described CASAâ€™s early days: â€śWe just had to do something. People were coming here who really needed helpâ€¦â€ť She said that virtually all were illegals fleeing El Salvadorâ€™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)8.