Friday, March 28, 2008

Montgomery County Chambers of Commerce - Will you help employers follow the law?

March 20, 2008


Help Save Maryland
P.O. Box 5742
Rockville, MD 20855


African American Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County
Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce
Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce
Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Olney Chamber of Commerce
Poolesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Potomac Chamber of Commerce Inc.
Rockville Chamber of Commerce
Rockville Economic Development Inc.
Wheaton-Kensington Chamber of Commerce
Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce

Dear Montgomery County Business Organization Leaders:

My name is Brad Botwin and I’m the Director of Help Save Maryland, a multi-ethnic, grass roots citizens’ organization with members across 14 Maryland Counties and growing. We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians and Indians. Our main goal is to eliminate the use of our tax dollars on programs and services for illegal aliens in Maryland.

On March 13, 2008, your business organization counterparts in Anne Arundel County, in coordination with state and local government organizations, hosted a half-day event titled “Foreign Workers Employment Practice Workshop”. Sponsored by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation and 10 other groups, the event focused on lawful employment practices involving foreign workers. This included worker identity verification and the use of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-Verify System; compliance with federal employment laws; and liability issues for hiring unauthorized aliens. See the attached event flyer and web site for further details.

My question is simple. When are the local business leaders and related organizations in Montgomery County going to develop and host a similar event regarding lawful practices for hiring foreign workers? An event like this is desperately needed in Montgomery County because of the growing illegal alien population. Lack of effective leadership by county and state elected officials, and related law enforcement authorities, have clearly contributed to the problem.

Under the administration of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, with the full support of Council President Mike Knapp, programs and services for illegal aliens have rapidly expanded. Taxpayer-funded Day Laborer Centers, run by the non-profit CASA of Maryland, attract and cater to workers who are in the country illegally. Leggett and Knapp have ignored requests to require CASA of Maryland to check the workers for legal presence in the United States at any of the multiple Day Laborer sites in Montgomery County. Legal businesses, potentially some of your members, who utilize the centers are unknowingly hiring unauthorized aliens and could be subject to prosecution under the law.

In addition, Leggett and Knapp want to go a step further and are now pushing legislation which would require homeowners to sign contracts with “domestic workers” (nurses, maids and others). As with Day Laborers, unfortunately many of these domestic workers are also in the country illegally. Citizens could also be subject to prosecution under the law by unknowingly entering into contracts, hiring and harboring illegal workers.

I believe it’s time for our business leaders to step forward and take a leadership role in the community regarding lawful hiring practices. A proposed “Foreign Workers Employment Practice Workshop” in Montgomery County would be an important first joint action by the various local Chambers and related organizations.

I look forward to a response to my question from each of the 13 organizations listed above. I can be reached at . Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Brad Botwin, Director
Help Save Maryland


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