The Montgomery County Council has introduced a "special appropriation" of $373,957 to fund free lawyers for illegal immigrants facing deportation. County Councilmember Nancy Navarro said she was proud that the Council would use taxpayer funds to defend illegal immigrants from deportation, adding that Tuesday's proposal "doubled down on our commitment to protect our immigrant community."
While the Council resolution claims in one section that illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes such as murder and rape would not be eligible for the taxpayer-funded legal assistance, that claim is negated by later wording.
On Page 3 of the resolution, the text notes that illegal immigrants convicted of murder, rape, sexual offenses, armed carjacking, kidnapping, child kidnapping, sexual abuse of a minor, child abuse, gang participation, human trafficking and "abducting a child under 16 for prostitution" would be eligible for taxpayer-funded legal counsel if "the individual has a potentially meritorious claim for immigration relief from removal in the form of a claim to United States citizenship, protection under the Convention Against Torture, U/T Visa, or Refugee Adjustment."
A public hearing on the appropriation will be held on May 1 at the County Council Building, located at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. The County is currently facing a budget shortfall of $208,000,000.