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Posted at 1:28 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Immigrant witnesses briefly barred from entering House office building

By Ann Marimow

The state's immigration debate spilled into the lobby of the House Office Building in Annapolis Tuesday afternoon. As the House Judiciary Committee prepared to take up several immigration bills, about a dozen immigrants who planned to testify at the hearing were briefly blocked from entering the building.

Accompanied by representatives from CASA of Maryland, the men initially were stopped because they could not provide a government-issued photo identification card. The group turned to Montgomery Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D) to intervene.

Thumbnail image for Maryland Politics Photos - 2152011 039.jpgAs the men waited behind a rope line, there was much confusion about what type of photo identification state policy requires to enter public buildings. Gutierrez and other CASA representatives said that for at least 10 years they have been able to bring witnesses to testify at hearings and to meet with legislators with a CASA-issued photo ID card.

As recently as two weeks ago, Helen Melton, an advocacy specialist, said her colleague was able to enter with a group of students whose only identification came from CASA.

"Every time they hear CASA of Maryland, the rules seem to change on the spot," she said.

Alexandra Hughes, a spokesperson for House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) pointed to state regulations that require members of the public to present a government-issued photo ID. But the rules have apparently been applied inconsistently in the past, and Hughes said a memo was recently issued to reaffirm the requirement for a government-issued ID.

The conflict was quickly resolved Tuesday afternoon when an official from the Department of General Services told Gutierrez that the men would be allowed in the building for the afternoon if they could provide a valid photo ID and if she would vouch for them.

By Ann Marimow  | February 15, 2011; 1:28 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow, General Assembly  
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Why do I have to have an Govt. issued ID but Illegal Immigrants don't to get into Govt. buildings and hearings? What is going on in Annapolis? A Casa ID is the gold standard of verifying peoples identity?

Posted by: paravour | February 15, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

To Paravour.....the reason you need an ID and they don't is that you are an honset hard-working tax-paying citizen and foolish enough to submit to the rule of law.

They are not and have lots of friends to support them...and they always appear in a pack...while you appear alone and vulnerable.

Posted by: anderson2 | February 15, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

People need to stop hating on illegal immigrants. There is no reason to hate them but instead the current immigration system. These people are hard working and here to stay. We can't deport them because deporting people requires money we don't have. So since we need them for minimum wage labor jobs they have right to enter government buildings and hearings when policy is affecting them. Why a CASA ID? because they need something on them that has at least their name, just like any other person. If being illegal was a crime, you would have ICE at the door of Annapolis.

Posted by: msdani94 | February 15, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse


Who is "hating"? Cut off the welfare checks and you would have a lot of people to do the jobs. Not to mention all of the unemployed who are being cut out of the jobs because these people are being paid under the table and no taxes. Gee and you stat we have no money!

And please take the ghetto slang with you.

Posted by: paravour | February 15, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

msdani94 wrote:

"These people are hard working and here to stay. We can't deport them because deporting people requires money we don't have. So since we need them for minimum wage labor jobs"


No msdani94 -- wrong on two counts:

If we have the money to play unemployment and medicaid benefits to the Americans who lost their jobs to these illegals -- we have the money to deport the illegals.

And we don't need anyone to work for the minimum wage. If the work they did was really valuable, their employers could pay them more than the minimum wage. Without the illegals, employers would have to pay decent wages. Employers have no entitlement to enough desperately poor people so that they can pay poverty level wages. If we run short of poor people, then the remaining poor can demand higher wages and then they won't be poor either.

Illegal immigrants are the chief cause of poverty.

Posted by: kevin9 | February 15, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

This catering, pandering and "advocating" on behalf of illegal aliens needs to stop now. These people are criminals and have no right to be in the United States. We aren't going to support these parasites any longer. Yes we can, and will, deport. But first cut off the programs to which these "hard-working" criminals feel so entitled.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | February 15, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

A full discussion of why Mexico and for the most part the central American states are failures as nations would require a discussion far beyond the characters allowed here. This being said, one reason is that the full of law is something that is not practiced in any of these states. This explains why illegal immigrants feel that they can come to this country in spite of our laws. It simply does not work for them. On the other hand, they do want the rule of law applied when it works to their advantage. Just food for thought.

Posted by: jeffreed | February 16, 2011 5:54 AM | Report abuse

"Alexandra Hughes, a spokesperson for House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) pointed to state regulations that require members of the public to present a government-issued photo ID"

Where does it say this?? COMAR??

I only see sign at door that says "photo ID"

Posted by: me231 | February 16, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone really think that a organization like Casa if it represented illegals from the USA in Mexico would be allowed to get anywhere near a state representative? In your dreams. In that country you are not allowed any say about how the government is run. They call that meddling. But here they can be represented by Casa,or any number of parasite organizations and we do nothing about it. Does anyone think any of us could have marched in any city in Mexico waving the US flag demanding citizenship be handed to us? Just try it. You will be deported if you say anything against the Mexican government or worse thrown in jail and deported if you make it out of jail alive. Casa needs to be shut down and charged with harboring illegal aliens. That would be only one of many charges against them. This bunch of traitors is only one of many thousands across the country that needs to be shut down.

Posted by: oddieferret | February 17, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

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