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Montgomery Co. slams immigration raids, refuses to cooperate | News

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Montgomery Co. slams immigration raids, refuses to cooperate
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ROCKVILLE, Md (WUSA9) -- Montgomery County leaders offering a blunt warning to the Obama Administration: Local police will not cooperate with new immigration raids to deport women and children who have fled violence in Central America.

The raids continue across the country despite new criticism in Montgomery County and on the presidential campaign trail from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

But Montgomery County’s response is also facing derision from some people. Prince William County Board Chair Corey Stewart, the leader of Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia, said he'll encourage undocumented immigrants to leave his community and head to Maryland.

Reaction to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids is rolling across social media, with immigrants passing the word not to answer that knock on the door.

Federal agents “have come to my apartment, they have knocked on my door, but I haven't opened the door. And my neighbors have not opened the door either,” said “Sandra,” who crossed the border illegally two years ago with her six-year-old son.

She is among the recent immigrants targeted by the Obama Administration. About 100,000 women and children have fled a recent surge in gang violence in Central America.

Sandra said she fled her country after death threats. “I'm really afraid that if I get deported, I will end up in a casket with my son.”

Montgomery County leaders fear the new round-ups are discouraging immigrants from calling the police for help when they face other crimes. Some immigrants are staying home from work and pulling their children out of school.

“You should send your kids to school. Participate with your community. We are in fact a welcoming community,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, who called the raids “ill-founded and counter-productive."

On the other side of the Potomac, Stewart says Montgomery County is making a huge mistake.

“I'm going to do the very best that I can to encourage illegal aliens who want to commit crimes to leave Prince William County, in fact to leave Virginia all together, go up to Maryland, because you're welcome up there,” Stewart said. 

The Obama Administration plans to continue the raids, with Homeland Security officials hoping they will send a message and prevent another big surge in illegal border crossings.

People in favor of deportation complain the scale of the raids is too small to have much of an impact.

But the Montgomery County Council and Executive say many of the people being deported have received little or no legal help and no due process.

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