By Abby Rogers
Del. Pat McDonough is targeting illegal immigrants through 16 new security bills he is introducing to the General Assembly during the 2011 session.
“It’s time to go on the offense,” said McDonough, a Republican representing Harford and Baltimore counties, during a news conference Wednesday following the General Assembly’s opening session.
McDonough said his bills aren’t about racism, which he called “pathetic rhetoric by the left,” but rather about money, jobs and security. Pointing to the recent incendiary packages discovered in Annapolis last week, McDonough said he’s noticed a relaxation of security standards.
“We want the standards applied at all times,” he said. For McDonough, these standards include asking everyone who walks into a state building for a photo ID — but requiring more than a driver’s license, since illegal immigrants can get them — asking people to walk through X-ray machines, and questioning suspicious behavior.
McDonough is tying the issue to illegal immigration for personal reasons. McDonough said a few years ago, he was assaulted by someone with ties to illegal immigration. He also cited his legislative experience, saying that he and other legislators felt uncomfortable when illegal immigrants filled the gallery when the General Assembly was debating ending the issuance of driver’s licenses to them.
McDonough has long pressed for laws aimed at stopping illegal immigration and to make English the state’s “official” language, but his efforts have not won broad support in the legislature.
When asked what other lawmakers are supporting his legislation, McDonough didn’t name specific people. Rather, he listed reasons why his proposed legislation might fail, also pointing out that legislation similar to his has passed in other states.
“The General Assembly is a sanctuary General Assembly. It’s a group of lawmakers that supports lawbreakers. It’s not the bill. It’s not me. It’s the General Assembly.”