Last week, Maywood, California became a
“sanctuary for immigrants,”
after a unanimous vote by the newly-elected City
Maywood, California is a small town in Los Angeles
County with a population of roughly 30,000.
I`ve spent most of my life in Southern California. I
wish you could see these little towns for the way they
used to look—rather than what many of them
town like Maywood, where the average home was built in
1930, once looked like something from the imagination of
Norman Rockwell (I just had to go cliché, huh? OK,
Monet!). Pastel flowers, and
ladies walked about wearing
large straw hats and white gloves.
Many towns in this section of LA County still maintain
vestiges of American beauty. Pasadena is a mere 16 miles
away and still boasts some of the
most expensive and picturesque real estate in
According to US Census
State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS), search for
- In 1970, a majority of the Maywood population was
White, with some Blacks and Asians
- In 1970, the total
foreign-born population was only 14.4%
- In 1980, the Hispanic population in Maywood was more
than 80%. By 1980, nearly half (49.3 percent) were
- In 1980, there
were slightly more than 3,700 White people living in
- in 2000, there were about 700 whites in Maywood
- In 2000, Maywood
was 97% Hispanic. More than 55% of its residents are
A couple of years ago,
the Maywood Police Department set up two
vehicle checkpoints along the main drag of this
Southern California town.
Of course, officers
asked all drivers for their
licenses and registrations—which as we all know, is
standard operating procedure. If drivers were found
to be driving without a
legal driver`s license, their cars were impounded.
All vehicles were held
for the requisite amount of time—30 days—in order to
give the owner ample opportunity to pay the impound
fees, the traffic fine (if any) and of course, provide
proof of license to drive a vehicle in California.
The program was
originally started to cut down on
drunk driving and
vehicle theft problems in Maywood. More than 1800
vehicles were impounded in a 12-month period. [See U.C.
Institute for Labor and Employment Working Paper 86
PDF pg. 16.]
As it turned out, the
majority of vehicles were seized from Hispanic illegal
aliens who were…driving without a license, of course.
Latinlobbyists went nuts.
“We are outraged and
demand an immediate investigation into growing reports
that local law enforcement in Maywood, California appear
to be preying on Latino drivers,” said Hector Flores,
LULAC National President. “These motorists are being
regularly stopped at checkpoints under the guise of
traffic safety and losing their vehicles through tactics
that smack of nothing less than shameless profiteering
at the expense of the poor.” [Press Release:
LULAC Affirms Call For Federal Probe Questioning
Corruption and Profiting by the City of Maywood]
As I have stated many times before, I am no great shakes
But this town`s
is 97% Hispanic! (Now—thanks to illegal
How much “preying” could possibly be involved?
If the police had arrested every single Black person in
Maywood, that would only be 43 people (according to the
2000 census). That would have made a better argument for
Then the local illegal
immigration apologists (which in this case would be the
whole town) ran their people in the local City Council
Aguirre was elected just three months ago, in November
Practically his first
order of business: a mere two months later, Aguirre led
the city council to name Maywood a
“immigration counselor” (political bio
here), Aguirre doesn`t think a guest worker program
will work—if the “workers” are not citizens, they
won`t be able to collect
social security and reap other citizenship-based
He was quoted in a
February 1 2006 AP story by Paul Chavez
"We have to change
the concept of being illegal…people are people and are
here for a reason."
immigrant advocates denounce Bush`s guest worker proposal]
Oh…they`re here for a
speaking most crimes are committed “for
a reason“ and I suppose this community is no
But it`s still a
crime, Vice-Mayor Felipe.
on the 2004 statistics (here)
from the FBI Crime Reports, the “overall crime rate”
in Maywood is below the national average.
Sounds pretty good,
Taking a closer look
at the table [here],
the red “x” indicates a crime level above the national
average; a green “check-mark” indicates a level
below the national average.
Overall Maywood Crime
|Maywood Aggravated Assaults||
|Maywood Motor Vehicle Thefts||
Huh…the overall crime rate in Maywood is below the
national average in spite of the fact that their murder
rate is three times higher!
Murder…higher. Rape…higher. Robbery…higher.
What it should say is: the crime rate in Maywood is
lower than the national average unless you count the
crimes that actually matter to people, such as murder
And look! Motor Vehicle Thefts is…higher!
The Maywood police department seems to have been heading
in the right direction.
According to an AP story in the San Francisco
suburb prohibits police from work with immigration
Leflar, Maywood`s police chief, said his 43-officer
force did not enforce immigration law and had no plans
to do so.”
Chief of Police in Maywood is
hired and/or fired by the City Council.
Leflar would likely find himself in the unemployment
line if he said anything else.
tried to reach Chief Leflar to ask him about this
immigration policy and its effect on law enforcement.
But as of posting time, I had not heard back from him.
You try—email him
According to a report by the Center for Comparative
Immigration Studies at the University of California at
San Diego (here),
Maywood is the most crowded city west of the
Census 2000, Maywood remains the city with the highest
population density outside of the greater
New York City area.”
The town encompasses just one square mile and it was
never meant to house more than 10,000 people at the
With three times that many now crammed into every nook
and cranny, this small—once charming—town is literally
bursting at the seams.
The last time I drove through Maywood, I was completely
astonished by what I saw.
There are rows and rows of older, once-quaint but now
dilapidated homes with—I`m not joking—5
or 6 mailboxes nailed haphazardly to the front each
Nothing was written in English. There seemed to be as
stray dogs as there were people roaming about town.
Just to cover all my bases, let`s look at education.
According to a Washington Post article about Los
Angeles school over-crowding [Out
West, a Paradox by Blaine Harden August 11,2005]
“Schools have been
officially overcrowded and operating on an emergency
year-round schedule for 23 years.”
Why have I dedicated this week`s column to this little
So that I could end with this final question:
Whose town is next?
Bryanna Bevens [email
her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff
for a member of the California State Assembly.