- The Washington Times - Monday, May 31, 2004

Two Maryland lawmakers from Baltimore County have asked the federal government to withhold funding from state and local agencies that ignore federal laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.

“Especially since 9/11, it is everyone’s duty to protect the integrity of U.S. borders the best we can,” said Delegate Pat McDonough. Mr. McDonough and Delegate Rick Impallaria, both Republicans, sent letters to President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other high-ranking federal officials asking them to cut funding from agencies that “flagrantly” violate U.S. immigration laws.

They say, for example, that funding should be cut from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration if it issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and from law-enforcement agencies that refuse to help the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency carry out its mission of deporting illegal immigrants.

“This would not be a new policy for the federal government,” Mr. Impallaria said. “This is the same principle as cutting federal funds from jurisdictions that do not comply with federal fair housing regulations. … Our intention is to encourage state and local jurisdictions to shoulder their part of the responsibility for preventing terrorist activity. The feds cannot do it all.”

The lawmakers submitted five bills in the 2004 General Assembly to crack down on illegal aliens, though none was approved.

One bill called for incarcerating illegal aliens as soon as they are discovered, and another would have punished U.S. residents who allow illegal aliens to use their cars while committing crimes. A third bill focused on cracking down on foreign embassies that issue identification cards to illegal aliens. The other two bills called for a study on the effect of illegal aliens on the state economy.

The delegates have vowed to resubmit the bills in the next session.

Mr. McDonough and Mr. Impallaria say they are most concerned about Montgomery County because Executive Douglas M. Duncan, a Democrat, has defended the police force for not detaining illegal aliens for deportation.

In February, Mr. Duncan said deportation was a federal issue.

“We [also] don’t have the manpower or the resources,” he said. “We are trying to build trust between the community and police department.”

Mr. Impallaria said, “I don’t want to see the state lose federal dollars, but I do want to see it do the right thing.”

Erin Healy, a Bush administration spokeswoman, said Friday that the lawmakers’ letter had not been received. She had no comment.

A spokesman for Mr. Ashcroft said the attorney general’s office will review the letter “as we do all these types of requests.”

The letter also was sent to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, but his office declined to comment. “While the state received a copy of the letter, it is addressed to federal officials and it is about a federal issue,” said Henry Fawell, an Ehrlich administration spokesman. “We will let Maryland’s federal delegation address it.”

Delegate Victor R. Ramirez, a Prince George’s County Democrat, called Mr. McDonough and Mr. Impallaria hypocritical. “These are the same folks who cry separation between the state and [federal] government. And when it does not please them, they go running to the federal government.”

Mr. McDonough and Mr. Impallaria’s public opposition of illegal aliens has caused them trouble with immigrant communities.

Community leaders have called for a state inquiry into a purported assault on four activists outside a State House hearing room on March 18.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide