Joint Republican Caucus Calls On Governor Moore to Protect Maryland Communities from Violent Undocumented Immigrants

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Following the capture, extradition, and charging of an undocumented immigrant with the rape and murder of Harford County resident Rachel Morin, the members of the Joint House and Senate Republican Caucuses today called on Governor Moore to roll back the public policies that have made Maryland a sanctuary state.

“Rachel Morin’s murder was horrendous, tragic, and wholly preventable,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Hershey. “It is not only a direct result of our nation’s failed immigration policies and our porous borders, but also a result of Maryland’s policies that create a haven for undocumented immigrants both in practice and in statute.”

In August of 2023, Rachel Morin’s body was found in the area of the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail in Harford County. The day before, the 37-year-old mother of 5 had headed to the trail for a walk. She was reported missing by her boyfriend when she didn’t return home. The suspect in the case, Antonio MartinezHernandez, is a citizen of El Salvador and has been charged with first-degree rape and murder. According to media reports, Martinez came to the United States illegally in early 2023 after being suspected of a murder in El Salvador. He is also a suspect in a home invasion and assault of a 9-year-old girl in Los Angeles.

“Governor Moore has focused blame for this tragedy on Congressional inaction to protect our borders, but that is only half of the story,” said House Minority Leader Jason Buckel. “For over a decade, the Democrat-led Maryland legislature has championed legislation making Maryland more attractive for undocumented immigrants. Maryland provides in-state tuition, driver’s licenses, tax breaks, and health care for undocumented immigrants while at the same time making it difficult to impossible for local law enforcement to work with federal immigration authorities. All of this has come at the hands of the General Assembly.”

Rachel Morin is not the first Marylander to die at the hands of an undocumented immigrant. In July 2022, Kayla Hamilton, a 20-year-old autistic woman, was found strangled to death in her home. Authorities later arrested a 17-year-old man from El Salvador who was a member of MS-13. The man had been admitted to the United States as an unaccompanied minor in 2020 but should not have been as he had tattoos identifying him as a member of the gang. The man was charged with first-degree murder in January 2023. In May of 2023, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of five undocumented immigrants charged in connection with the murder of 15-year-old Limber Lopez Funez, a student at Frederick High School. Several of the suspects were affiliated with MS13 and three of those charged are alleged to have entered the country as unaccompanied minors.

According to a report by the Baltimore Banner, Maryland receives unaccompanied migrant children at a rate higher than any other state. Two zip codes rank in the top 10 most common destinations for unaccompanied migrant children. Just last week the Biden Administration admitted that these unaccompanied migrant children are not getting proper background checks.

“It is abundantly clear that the federal government has no idea who is coming across our borders,” said House Minority Whip Jesse Pippy. “Meanwhile the General Assembly has pushed nearly every year to make Maryland a sanctuary state. It is incumbent upon the Governor not only to press for federal action but also to push his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate to roll back the generous benefits package provided to undocumented immigrants at taxpayer expense. Most importantly, the Governor must use his influence to repeal the 2021 Dignity Not Detention Act that prohibits local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.”

“The members of the Joint Republican Caucuses agree that action needs to be taken at the federal level, but we have to address these matters on the state level as well,” said Senate Minority Whip Justin Ready. “Our members have fought against sanctuary state policies for decades knowing that such policies endanger our communities. Our hearts are broken for Ms. Morin’s children and her family. We will continue our fight for them and for the safety of all Marylanders.”