Living in the Shadows of Fear: Immigrants and the Coronavirus

Written by Margie Delao

As history has proven, natural disasters and health crises will disproportionately affect socially and economically underprivileged communities. During Hurricane Katrina, low income and African American communities IMG_0559were affected by the hurricane at astronomical rates. The HIV/AIDS epidemic swept through marginalized minority LGBTQ+ communities, further exacerbating rampant discrimination against those testing positive for the disease. In both cases, the government failed to act with urgent and sweeping policy to combat the Katrina fallout and the HIV/AIDS epidemics. As a result, minority communities paid the price. Just as much can be said regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic. As the days, hours, and minutes wear on, the U.S. government’s directives on social distancing and economic relief packages flurry onto media outlets, overtaking the country in a snowstorm of breaking news. The coronavirus will no doubt affect millions, but it is evident that the pandemic will be especially disastrous for immigrant communities. That said, what actions is the federal government taking to provide protection for immigrants, especially for those in ICE detention centers? With a proven track record of racist and discriminatory policies against immigrants, it is no surprise that President Trump is doing little to protect immigrant communities during the pandemic.

The fear mongering and racially charged narrative that Trump developed during his campaign is deeply embedded in the policies he enacted during his presidency. Trump has pushed for the building of a wall at the U.S. and Mexico border, enacted travel bans for primarily African and Muslim majority countries, and reinterpreted the Public Charge Rule by linking the naturalization approval process to an applicant’s income and reliance on certain public programs. All of Trump’s immigration policies are the result of his abhorrent xenophobic campaign promises to keep out immigrants fleeing war and conflict and obtaining citizenship. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Trump administration enacted the removal of English and Spanish CDC posters on the coronavirus from immigration courts in the midst of a pandemic. These policies only serve to leave immigrants vulnerable in their communities during the pandemic, wanting for vital, lifesaving information that their government is loath to provide them with.

The most vulnerable immigrants during this crisis are those who remain in the ICE detention centers. As the virus is known to spread quickly among large groups of individuals, those who are incarcerated are especially vulnerable, as they lack the option to socially distance themselves from others. The ACLU recently stated in their lawsuit against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Agency that ICE detention centers are notorious for inhumane, unethical, and unsanitary living conditions. If the U.S. Government does not release vulnerable immigrants from these detention centers, it runs the risk of further spreading the disease among a much more defenseless swath of the population. With the pandemic worsening, the U.S. government has rushed to “flatten the curve” and slow the virus’ spread. In conjunction with pressure from lawmakers and advocates, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the Public Charge Rule will not apply to any immigrants seeking testing and treatment for the coronavirus. What is especially critical to this change to the Public Charge Rule is that it will encourage immigrants to receive testing without fear of being denied a green card or citizenship.

Even with recent change in policy, how will immigrants trust the government to provide resources without future retribution amid anti-immigrant rhetoric Trump established during his campaign and through his policy initiatives? It is too early to predict whether the change in the Public Charge Rule will effectively encourage immigrants to seek out testing and treatment. Immigrants are especially vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Unless the government changes the narrative on immigration policy and enacts sweeping policy to support these vulnerable communities, such as releasing immigrants in detention centers or placing a moratorium on deportation, many will contract the disease, and even die due to fear of seeking out treatment.

Montgomery County Young Democrats Award $500 Grant to Springbrook High School Students for Hackathon

Rockville, February 25th Brook Codes Hackathon GrantThe Montgomery County Young Democrats are pleased to announce our awarding of a $500 dollar grant to Springbrook High School Students for a computer science hackathon.

Several students from Springbrook High School’s Academy of Information Technology are organizing a computer science hackathon (coding event for students to be enriched in the realm of computer science) named Brook Codes. They aim to bring together students who are interested in computer science regardless of their socioeconomic status, and to promote equity, access, and diversity. The event will also show that coding can be a fun activity for people of all skill levels and prove the computer science is not only for the wealthy and well-connected.

After hearing from the students, the Montgomery County Young Democrats Executive Board voted to award them a $500 grant toward their proposal. Technology is a growing career field, and it is important for youth to be involved in and learn about tech jobs.

The Brook Codes Hackathon will help provide students from all economic levels with a way to gain more exposure to the technology field and nurture their interest in STEM (science, technology, math, and engineering) careers. It will take place on April 18th, 2020 from 9 AM to 7 PM, at Springbrook High School. You can register online here.

The goal of the all day event will be to “design a game you can play with children around the world. It doesn’t matter how old they are, what language they speak, where they are, or how they access the Internet. They should be able to connect with you right away and understand the rules of the game immediately.”

The Montgomery County Young Democrats are pleased to encourage more young people to get involved in the technology sector, and to encourage more underrepresented people to get involved as well.

For more information, reach out to Michael DeLong at or, or Communications Director Margie Delao at

Statement from the Montgomery County Young Democrats Regarding the Trump Administration’s Expansion of the Travel Ban

Rockville, MD- The Trump administration’s recent expansion of the list of countries under the travel ban reflects their continued politically motivated efforts to target African and Muslim countries under the guise of National Security.  Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Sudan, and Tanzania will as of February 22, 2020 be added to the list of countries on the ban.

President Trump is already on trial in the Senate for abusing his power and extorting other countries for the sake of advancing his personal political interests in the name of national security.  The misuse of power by President Trump is evident in his most recent efforts to withhold foreign aid to Ukraine in order to have the Ukrainian President publicly open inquiries on Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden. In this case, it can be argued that the most recent expansion is yet another politically motivated move, but in this case, it is to reinforce the notably xenophobic edge of his campaign.

In a disappointing judgment, the Supreme Court upheld the initial ban stating that it is not prejudicial and that it is under the President’s authority to curtail immigration in the interest of national security.  That being said, it should not be under the President’s authority to influence foreign policy for the sole purpose of appealing to their voter base during their upcoming reelection year.

The Montgomery County Young Democrats condemn the expansion of the ban and urges the courts to impede these politically motivated efforts.  Unless something is done, President Trump will continue to manipulate foreign policy for his own personal benefit with a complete lack of regard for the country he governs.




Why Montgomery County Should Repeal Its Tax Breaks for Country Clubs

The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) are involved in politics for many different reasons. Here Michael DeLong, MCYD President, writes about country clubs in Montgomery County, how they receive large property tax breaks, and why these tax breaks are harmful and should be repealed. 

One of the issues that we Montgomery County Young Democrats care about is fairness and ensuring that our schools and services are well funded. Montgomery County is home to a great many people and businesses, from Bethesda to Silver Spring to Gaithersburg. What many people don’t know is that our county hosts fifteen golf courses and country clubs-and that these clubs get a massive property tax break.

Currently Maryland’s State Department of Assessments and Taxation assesses land owned by country clubs and gold courses at $1,000 per acre. They do this because of agreements signed with the country clubs, and this is under a fifty year old law intended to discourage development of open spaces. What this actually means that the country clubs pay property taxes on only a small amount of their land’s actual value. The actual market rate assessments for these country clubs range from $12,500 per acre to $1.1 million per acre!

Essentially, while homeowners, businesses, and other people are paying property taxes to fund schools, health care, parks, and other county priorities, wealthy country clubs have a huge tax break, and are not paying their fair share. And these clubs are very well off. For some of the clubs, member initiation fees can be over $75,000! To give just a few examples, Manor Country Club near Rockville has a property value of $5.1 million, Chevy Chase Country Club’s property value is $8.3 million, and Woodmont Country Club is valued at $15.5 million!

Getting rid of these unfair tax breaks for wealthy country clubs would yield an additional $10 million in annual property taxes for the county, which could be used to fund better county services and promote economic opportunity. For the past few years, Delegate David Moon has introduced bills to eliminate this giveaway. Last year he remarked that “this country club tax break deal is probably the most glaring and obvious example of unfair tax policy.”

Moon is right. And this year, Montgomery County faces a budget shortfall of $99.8 million, driven in part by stagnating property and income tax revenues! Repealing the property tax break for country clubs would help fill that gap and reduce budget cuts. Recently I was part of a protest in front of Columbia Country Club (valued at $7.1 million) to draw attention to this issue and urge that the tax break be revoked.

Budgets are moral documents. And at a time when budget cuts will hurt the county’s least fortunate, rich country clubs should pay their fair share to ensure that Montgomery County is a good place to live for all its residents.

Statement from the Montgomery County Young Democrats Regarding the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

Rockville, MD – In light of the November testimony on President Trump’s treatment of Ukraine as well the additional information that has surfaced, the Montgomery County Young Democrats support the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

The impeachment hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee in November further solidified the accusations made against President Trump.  Multiple witnesses testified and shared their interactions with President Trump and his advisors.  From the infamous phone call with the President of Ukraine to the threats made against his own fellow government officials, President Trump’s recent actions are gravely concerning and a violation of his oath of office.

The witnesses’ testimony outlined the chain of events and revealed President Trump’s intent to withhold foreign aid and employ other abhorrent tactics for the sake of his personal political gain.  After a thorough investigation, the U.S. House of Representatives rightfully impeached President Trump on December 18th for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

The Impeachment trial will be held in the U.S. Senate this month and the Montgomery County Young Democrats urge the Senate to conduct a fair trial.  It is important that the laws that govern this country also apply to the highest office in the United States, and that no one is above the law.

For more information or comments, contact Michael DeLong at 925-708-1135 or




MCYD Condemns Governor Hogan’s Statement Regarding Syrian Refugees, Call on Maryland Officials to Stand on Facts and Compassion


Thursday, November 19th

Contact: Communications Director Katie Mullen –; President Nik Sushka –

The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) condemn Governor Hogan’s recent decision to join a chorus of Republican leaders spreading fear and ignoring facts about Syrian victims of terror seeking refuge in our country.

At a time when the United States must be global leaders in aiding victims of terrorist acts, Governor Hogan has chosen to spread misinformation about the federal government’s refugee program. We find it unbelievable that our Governor is unaware of the stringent review process to which refugees are subjected before being resettled in our country or of the many refugees who have made new homes in Maryland and pose absolutely no threat to the safety or security of their neighbors.

Furthermore, his statement is downright shameful in its contradiction of Maryland’s values. Governor Hogan’s partisan decision to not accept Syrian refugees denies our shared American value of freedom, as well as our own state’s founding as a refuge for Catholics fleeing persecution in Europe.

We reject the notion that we are safer as Marylanders by demonizing people of specific nationalities, religions, or other backgrounds. We affirm that Maryland is stronger when we stand for compassion and defend our diversity. And we call on all Maryland leaders to voice their support of our existing, responsible approach to refugee resettlement, even as we work towards a meaningful and constructive response to the threat of ISIS here and abroad.

Ultimately, it will be the federal government’s legal call where refugees are resettled. Maryland should be a state enthusiastically offering our cooperation, not heartlessly ignoring those in great need.

MCYD is a 501(c)4 organization that seeks to attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for just and sustainable communities. For more information, visit


MCYD 2016-2018 Elections Information

Nominations are Open to Serve on MCYD’s E-Board!

2016 Executive Board Elections will be held Tuesday, November 17th at 7pm in the Silver Spring Civic Center

Nominations will close Tuesday, October 20th at the Membership Meeting.

Do you want to put your passion for political action, community building, and advocacy to work with the Democratic Party and Montgomery County? Are you an active member in good standing of the Montgomery County Young Democrat?

Consider running for the 2016-2018 MCYD Executive Board!

Seeking nominations for:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Advocacy Director
  • Communications Director
  • Membership Director
  • Political Director
  • Programming Director

Board members serve for a 2-year term and work together to oversee the club’s operations, including MCYD’s monthly membership meetings, advocacy campaigns, political activism, and more.

Nominations are due to the Elections Committee by Tuesday, October 20th and will close at the Membership Meeting.

Nominations will be reviewed by the committee to ensure that members are in good standing and eligible to serve on the board.

To be certified for the ballot, please email the Committee at with:

  • First and Last Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Current Residence and Workplace or School, if in Montgomery County
  • Position you are seeking

Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the October Membership Meeting at 7pm in Silver Spring.

Criteria the Elections Committee will be reviewing, per our bylaws, include:

  1.  2015 dues-paying membership
  2. Eligibility by residence, school, or work location
  3. Democratic Party registration, if eligible to register for a political party in the U.S.
  4. Active status (attendance at 1/3 of the last year’s membership meetings (which will be 10/3, or 3.3 meetings, which I would interpret as 3 meetings, since typically you round down in a that kind of counting) and not disciplined in last 90 days

Questions? Contact the Elections Committee at

Special election for Membership Director to be held August 18th

A special election for Membership Director will be held Tuesday, August 18th at 7pm in the Silver Spring Civic Building.

The election will fill the position through the remainder of the 2014-2016 Executive Board’s terms.

For more information about MCYD’s process for filling vacancies, please visit

Per bylaws, we’ll accept nominations as early as our July Membership Meeting. Nominations will also be accepted through August 18th to, as well as from the floor at our August 18th Meeting.

We’ll elect a special elections committee as the first order of business at the August meeting, take nominations from the floor, ask the committee to certify the ballot with any additions, and then hold elections.

Membership Director’s Role, Responsibilities, and Duties

MCYD’s Mission
To attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who work for sustainable and just communities via political action.

MCYD Executive Board
The Executive Board of the Montgomery County Young Democrats consists of 9 active, dues-paying members of MCYD. The current board is serving 2-year terms that will end January 1, 2015. The Board meets on the 1st Sunday of every month to discuss, decide, and carry-out the business that keeps MCYD running. This includes planning events, addressing local and state issues, working to develop members into leaders, and representing MCYD within the community.

The 9 board members serve in the following positions:

  • President
  • Executive Vice President
  • Programming Director
  • Political Director
  • Advocacy Director
  • Communications Director
  • Membership Director
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

Role and Responsibilities of the MCYD Membership Director:
The Membership Director works with other members of the Executive Board to support MCYD’s mission. In particular, the Membership Director supports current members and recruits and orients new members. The goal of the Membership Director is to engage and empower MCYD’s members to participate as fully as desired in our organization.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Maintaining an accurate and current membership database
  • Preparing and collecting member sign in sheets for Membership Meetings
  • Confirming eligibility of potential members, per the MCYD bylaws
  • Coordinating with the MCYD Treasurer to ensure member dues are received and deposited
  • When necessary (e.g. during elections), providing appropriate committees and chartering organizations with requested documents and records

Additional Responsibilities May Include:

  • Planning and coordinating outreach activities such as New Member Socials to recruit new members
  • Representing MCYD at outreach events
  • Providing information to new members regarding opportunities to get involved
  • Developing materials like postcards, flyers, and potential member cards

Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Participating in Ex. Board meetings the 1st Sunday of every month from 2-4pm, typically in Wheaton Library
  • Supporting membership meetings the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7pm in Silver Spring


  • Active, dues-paying member of the Montgomery County Young Democrats
    • Must live, work, or go to school in Montgomery County
    • Must be a currently-registered Democrat, if able to register to vote
    • Be 35 years of age or younger through January 1, 2016
  • Evident passion for young people, community activism, and progressive change
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to communicate with diverse individuals/groups
  • Demonstrated capacity to collaborate with others
  • Strong organizational and technological skills

Length of Term

  • S/he will serve until January 1, 2016.


Press Release: MCYD Responds to the Baltimore Uprising


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Contact: Katie Mullen –; Nik Sushka –

Montgomery County Young Democrats Respond to Baltimore Uprisings

We, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, stand in solidarity with the people of Baltimore and we hear their protests calling for justice. The death of Freddie Gray and the anguish behind the violent and peaceful protests are the results of a long legacy of failure to respond to inequality in Baltimore’s most impoverished communities.

“Freddie Gray’s death after having his voicebox crushed and spine nearly severed while in police custody is tragic, and one more loss in the long line of black men killed after police encounters just this year. The fact that 10 days after his death, his family and the citizens of Baltimore are no closer to the answers they seek is an outrage. A riot is the language of the unheard, and what we’ve seen this week is a community’s reaction to injustice while feeling abandoned. This is not just about the unacceptable loss of Freddie Gray. It’s also about the systemic marginalization of a community for far too long. We have to recognize and commit to working on the systemic issues involved – police brutality and poverty – if we’re to join together as a community and move forward,” said MCYD Vice President Will Roberts.

We encourage everyone to listen to the Baltimoreans who are most affected by decades of the failed War on Drugs, police brutality and systemic inequality. We call on our elected officials, labor, community leaders and neighbors to respond with compassion and work to create real progress in achieving justice and equality for all.

“What we saw on the streets of Baltimore was a community angered by yet another unnecessary death and the perpetual brutality inflicted upon them by those who swore to protect and serve,” said MCYD Political Director Gabriel Acevero. “My hope is that after the cameras have left, we can have that uncomfortable dialogue about police brutality, the socio-economic challenges facing the city, the realities of black urban youth and how we can address it. It would be an affront to Freddie Gray’s memory if we sit on our hands.”

“We need—all of us—to be as devoted to justice as we are to order, and as committed to change as we are to restoring calm. Decision makers need to hold the megaphone up to the mouths of people who are speaking out. And Democrats and Republicans alike need to take responsibility for past failures and begin to do differently or we will find ourselves here again,” said MCYD President Nik Sushka.

In the days and weeks ahead, we offer our assistance in rebuilding Baltimore’s devastated communities, and fully support the long-term struggle of peace, justice and equality.

MCYD is a 501(c)4 organization that seeks to attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for just and sustainable communities. For more information, visit

Press Release: Hogan’s Transition Team Sets a Disturbing Tone for Maryland’s Future


Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

Contact: Katie Mullen –; Nik Sushka –


Hogan’s Transition Team Sets a Disturbing Tone for Maryland’s Future

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) are deeply concerned over Governor-elect Larry Hogan’s announcement yesterday of the six newest members of his transition team, who are firmly embedded in right-wing policy and corporate politics.

More than half of these new members – Blair Lee IV, a columnist for The Gazette; Marty Madden, a former Howard County Senator; State Senator Joe Getty of Carroll County; and Anirban Basu of Sage Policy Group – are on the record for supporting the elimination of the corporate tax, and opposing marriage equality, the repeal of the death penalty, raising the minimum wage, and reproductive rights. In an interview with the Washington Blade yesterday, Lee reaffirmed his vote against marriage equality, and his position that gay sex is a “mortal sin.”

Governor-elect Hogan is packing his transition team with consultants, legislators, and policy makers who are against the progress that Maryland has made over the past four years. In fact, voters affirmed much of this progress at the polls when the civil right to marriage equality and sensible, compassionate policies toward immigrant children in our state passed in 2012. His appointments set a disturbing tone for the future of our state in the next four years.

We, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, ask Governor-elect Hogan to remove Blair Lee IV from his transition team because of his extreme homophobic views that do not view all Marylanders as equal. We also ask Governor-elect Hogan to appoint members that represent the majority of Marylanders who voted for these progressive reforms that make our state more equal and fair for all. Our future depends on it.

MCYD is a 501(c)4 organization that seeks to attract and develop young people into caring agents of change who commit through political action to working for just and sustainable communities. For more information, visit