A long-time vocal critic of illegal immigration is calling for the erection of tent cities along the United States border with Mexico and expedited deportation of children who have entered the country illegally.
Del. Patrick L. McDonough, R-Baltimore and Harford Counties, said he opposed the housing of children in Baltimore County and called for an end to the federal government moving them to other locations around the United States.
“What the reaction should be is that we stop them at the border and put up a tent city using the same tents that our soldiers used in Afghanistan and Iraq,” McDonough said. “Build a tent city at the border and no one goes any further into the United States. That’s the McDonough plan.”
The United States is struggling to deal with a wave of children crossing illegally into the United States through Mexico. Since October, more than 57,000 unaccompanied children have entered the country and federal officials believe that as many as 90,000 children could be apprehended by the end of the fiscal year, according to the Associated Press.
McDonough said the increase in illegal border crossings was predictable and expected.
“We give them driver’s licenses and colleges educations and all other sorts of things,” McDonough said. “This is all the result of the sanctuary policies of this governor.”
McDonough said a number of these children are entering the country with moderate to serious health issues including tuberculosis. The delegate likened the influx of children from Central America to a version of the Underground Railroad that is organized by criminals.
“The underground railroad was organized to remove people from the crime of slavery, which I believe was right and Constitutional, but this is organized by criminals and they are making money on the backs of these children,” McDonough said.
McDonough is the latest elected official from Baltimore County to oppose the possible relocation of 50 children from Central America to the area. Catholic Charities announced last week that it would seek to provide shelter for the children at its St. Vincent’s Villa facility just north of East Timonium Road.
Del. A. Wade Kach, R-Baltimore County and a county council candidate, sent a letter Saturday to Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori asking for public hearings on the issue.
“This proposal really did upset me,” Kach said. “I just believe this is being done purposely by the Obama administration to create this immigration crisis.”
Kach said a number of people who live in the area have contacted him about their concerns and wanting to know how the community might be impacted by the reported health problems affecting some of the children as well as budgetary concerns and issues related to recruitment of the children by gangs.
“There are just so many unanswered questions,” Kach said.
Kach, a former school teacher, said he believes the United States has an obligation to care for the children and return them to their home countries “safely and as soon as possible.”
On Saturday, the Baltimore Sun reported that outgoing Republican Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff, who represents the Timonium area, also opposes the organization’s proposal to house the children.
“Catholic Charities does phenomenal work,” Huff told the paper. “But my opinion is they have to stick with the work here of our own.”