The New York Times reported Monday that a sanctuary bill in a liberal Maryland county faced "surprise" opposition from the county's legal immigrant communities.
"Sanctuary Bills in Maryland Faced a Surprise Foe: Legal Immigrants," the Monday headline read. The Times‘ Sabrina Tavernise reported on a sanctuary bill that was shot down in Howard County, where one in five residents were born outside the country and Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one.
The legislation would have made Howard County a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, requiring the jurisdiction to not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials.
It turns out the county's legal immigrants were not too keen on having an influx of illegal immigrants, arguing that "offering sanctuary to people who came to the country illegally devalued their own past struggles to gain citizenship." The Times spoke to four legal residents who explained why they were opposed to the measure.
"Stanley Salazar, a native of El Salvador, worried that the violent crime already plaguing Maryland's suburbs attributed to immigrant gangs would eventually touch his own daughters," the Times reported.
Salazar himself was once an illegal immigrant when he overstayed his visa, but he opposes the sanctuary measure based on his previous experience when Maryland's Montgomery County saw a boom in illegal immigration. The county saw an increase in murders committed by the the Salvadoran gang MS-13, and had to raise taxes to accommodate the strain on the education system.
The other three immigrants the Times spoke to were all longtime Democrats who expressed outrage at the measure and reported hearing the same from their fellow countrymen.
"You see the Indians get very angry because they have suffered so much to get a green card," said entrepreneur Biplab Pal.
"Being in America is such a high privilege. As an immigrant I really feel it," Chinese-born attorney J. D. Ma added. "You cannot easily give that privilege to somebody without going through some kind of process. It's like giving lots of gold for one dollar."
The article called legal immigrants "an unlikely source" of opposition to the bill, noting that their "objections stunned Democratic supporters of sanctuary here."
The Times headline and its perceptible shock earned it some mockery on Twitter from Republicans.
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) May 8, 2017