That is CASA as in CASA de Maryland the immigrant advocacy group!
Readers: From time to time we publish a guest column and this is one I think you will enjoy if you’ve been following (or participating in) the petition drive to get a referendum on the ballot in 2012 to let the voters decide if illegal aliens in Maryland should receive taxpayer-funded college educations.
Below is a first hand account of the experiences of one volunteer on the Eastern Shore last weekend.
Our recent experience with the petition drive started Friday afternoon (6/17) when a young man appeared at our table while we were collecting signatures in Easton in front of The Amish Market. He innocently started asking us questions about the petition as if he were interested in signing.
He departed saying he would think about it, but later I noticed him standing about twenty feet from us holding a batch of pamphlets. I have excerpted portions of the pamphlet that are the more egregious statements (otherwise known as “pack of lies”):
~”This initiative will deny Maryland taxpayers-and their children-affordable access to college.
~This initiative would repeal extended benefits for military families.
~Before voters even get to go to the ballot box on this issue, this petition would effectively remove education options for Maryland’s children and students for two years.”
It continued to state:
~”SAY NO to extremists spreading unnecessary fear.
~SAY NO to using Maryland’s initiative process for political purposes.
~SAY NO to circulators denying our children an affordable education.”
Needless to say we felt it necessary to respond to these outrageously misleading accusations so I took the job of engaging the young man (named Lewis) in order to interfere with and deflect his actions, so that my fellow signature collectors might work without interruption.
Working for CASA
He was pleasant enough, not the angry type, but absolutely incapable of defending his dishonest and disingenuous actions…..he even looked a bit embarrassed. He inadvertently gave me his first name, which he later expressed regret about, and told me he was there representing Casa de Maryland as a volunteer.
Community Service Hours for this!
As far as I could understand he was volunteering for the American Humane Association (affiliated in some manner with American Humane Society) for academic community credits and they referred him to Casa de Maryland (go figure). Apparently they get community credits volunteering for Casa de Maryland as well. I would like to know what academic institution is recognizing this community organizing as community credits?
Lewis remained there the entire time we were there though it was fairly easy to distract him with political debates on the various issues. He was remarkably ignorant about the facts and is obviously a dupe being used by the Casa de Maryland organization. His actions were annoying and frustrating, but it was easy enough to neutralize him and we had a fairly successful day collecting signatures.
The next day one of the volunteers that was working that day called me saying they needed help because there was a different young man there who stood right in front of their table interfering with their ability to get signatures and was more aggressive in his actions. When I got there I started engaging him in discussion in the same manner thus allowing the other two volunteers to collect signatures while he was preoccupied. He was much more “closed mouth” as to who he was (we called him “Whats His Name” for the rest of the day since he would not give up even his first name), but did admit he was there in the same capacity as Lewis volunteering for Casa de Maryland.
He was equally ignorant about the petition so we gave him a copy of the law so he could see for himself that none of the accusations his pamphlet was making were true, but that made no difference to him. They are not after truth. His ignorance or denial of reality was so “beyond the pale” that it left us absolutely speechless. He stated the bill was “debt neutral”, that illegals could get a job and pay taxes without a social security card (yes he actually said that!), and that they didn’t undermine the employment potential of regular MD citizens (even though a contractor walked up to him and gave him all the wonderful details as to how the illegals were ruining his business).
Because he was more aggressive in his approaching customers walking into the Amish Market I had to be more aggressive about interrupting him. It almost became a game…..he would walk up to a person and hand them a pamphlet, I would walk up to that person and explain what he was doing, they would hand me back the pamphlet, and I would ball it up and hand it back to “Whats His Name” (because he was an avid environmentalist I wanted him to have to carry them all to the recycling bin when he was finished). His pockets were bulging…..This went on for almost five hours.
He also remained fairly passive to the derogatory statements we threw at him and, just like Lewis, seemed a bit embarrassed at the lies that were printed on the pamphlet, but feebly attempted to defend them.
There were several incidences when other individuals walked up and tried to antagonize us. One accussed me of being a racist but my retort (which I won’t repeat, but no profanity was involved) seemed to sufficiently astound him that he left, though he did say he was going to get the proprietor of The Amish Market to shut us down the next week which was nothing short of laughable.
It was an adrenaline pumping and exhausting 4 1/2 hours because I could not let my guard down for a minute to be effective in neutralizing him. It would have been much easier if there had been a 2 to 1 ratio (in our favor needless to say) and as he was departing he said he was going to bring reinforcements next week.
It is essential that we have greater numbers there to thwart their destructive actions. They do not deal with truth and could care less about it. They have an objective to stop the petition drive and will do whatever it takes to accomplish their task. We must not let our guard down and become complacent.
From the editor: If you wish to get involved with the petition drive anywhere, including in Easton this weekend, contact me (email@example.com) and I will direct you to a volunteer coordinator. But, keep in mind that CASA may have a plan to provoke a conflict, so keep your cool—be firm but pleasant. And, most importantly this weekend, bring a video camera!
You may want to visit two other posts I’ve written about attempts to disrupt the petition process by people affiliated with CASA de Maryand, here and here. (In the first of those two links, note that they admit taxes need not be paid, only a tax return filed.)