Report From Occupied America: Maywood, CA—Small Town USA To Illegal Sanctuary City…In Just Three Decades!

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.

For those of you who imagine Southern California to be
little more than a

piping-hot desert
full of

, let me assure you, nothing is further
from the truth.

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

have become.

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,

!). Pastel flowers, and

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
data [from

State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS)
, search for
Maywood, CA]:

  • 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

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
October 2003,

pg. 16.]

As it turned out, the
majority of vehicles were seized from Hispanic illegal
aliens who were…driving without a license, of course.

And the
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
at math.

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
profiling, right?

Then the local illegal
immigration apologists (which in this case would be the
whole town) ran their people in the local City Council
races—and won.

Vice-Mayor Felipe
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

“sanctuary city.”

A former
“immigration counselor”
(political bio

), 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
as saying:

"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 proposa

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.

Now then…based
on the 2004 statistics (here)
from the FBI Crime Reports, the “overall crime rate”
in Maywood is below the national average.

Sounds pretty good,
don`t it?

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.

Crime Type


2004 Total

Per 100,000 People

National per 100,000 People

Overall Maywood Crime




Maywood Murders




Maywood Rapes




Maywood Robberies




Maywood Aggravated Assaults




Property Crimes




Maywood Burglaries




Maywood Larceny/Thefts




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!

Let`s see:

…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 rape.”

And look! Motor Vehicle Thefts is…higher!

The Maywood police department seems to have been heading
in the right direction.

But now with the new sanctuary
status for illegals, the

police department`s
hands are pretty much tied.

According to an AP story in the San Francisco
, [LA
suburb prohibits police from work with immigration

25, 2006]

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

“According to
Census 2000, Maywood remains the city with the highest
population density outside of the greater

New York City


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
single-dwelling home.

There are myriad temporary dwellings—such as

portable sheds
—pitched in backyards and rented out
as “apartments” so that

15 or 20 people
are all living on the same
residential lot.

Nothing was written in English. There seemed to be as
stray dogs
as there were people roaming about town.

(Oh shut up with the “racist stereotype”


, even if
doesn`t sound nice.

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
California town?

So that I could end with this final question:

Whose town is next?

Whose country?

Bryanna Bevens [email
her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff
for a member of the California State Assembly.