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Maryland was once for crabs, now it is for illegal immigrants

Gov. Martin O'Malley
Gov. Martin O'MalleyPhoto by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has claimed Honduran deportees will “face certain death,” if returned. The claim was repeated Aug. 5 on Fusion anchored by Jorge Ramos. The governor was attempting to explain why he told the Obama administration not to send some of the unaccompanied young illegal immigrants from Central America to Carroll County, MD.

“Parents would not make the heartbreaking decision to have their children risk their lives in the hands of smugglers or sex traffickers because they believe their odds of survival are better that way,” O’Malley told Ramos.

“So you do think that they would be killed, right?” Ramos asked. “If they’re deported, you believe they would be killed.”

“Yes, that’s why they left,” O’Malley said.

During the interview O’Malley cited figures for a United Nations’ report which claims Honduras has the world’s largest murder rate. But the picture painted by people like O’Malley is Honduras is a narco-economy controlled by gangs.

The same report O’Malley cites says the likelihood of being murdered by a gang was greater in Canada (37 percent) in 2010 than in Honduras (34.8 percent). 2010 was the last year the report has data from Honduras in this category. [International homicide victims killed by gangs or organized criminal groups as percentage of total homicide victims by country/territory (2005/2012)]

It is hard to say what O’Malley hopes to gain in a rift with the White House over unaccompanied young illegal immigrants from Central America, but the governor accused the Obama administration for taking his statements on how to treat the most recent wave of illegal immigrants out of context. The governor would prefer foreign teenagers stored in group houses for years before they have a trial with an immigration judge rather than being sent sooner to their country of origin.

O’Malley said his first choice is to see the teens placed in Maryland homes. To that end, Human Resources Secretary Ted Dallas said the state had received 230 inquiries about becoming federal foster parents over just the past two days. He said that compares with 10-15 expressions of interest in the state program in a typical month.

The state seeks Spanish-speaking foster parents. “That’s going to be a challenge going forward,” Dallas said. More than 2,200 immigrant children have been placed in Maryland since the beginning of the year — more than 90 percent with relatives who live here.

The Free State has more Central Americans per capita than any other state. The establishment choice for the next governor, Lt. Gov Anthony Brown (D), wants to continue O’Malley’s practices. That includes family reunification, stepped-up use of the federal foster care program and, as a last resort, group shelters.

His Republican opponent, Larry Hogan, told a Baltimore radio station, “I want to reunite them with their parents back in their home countries. I think it makes no sense whatsoever to be taking these kids and busing them thousands of miles away from their port of entry to try to house them in Maryland, where we’re not even able to take care of our own kids and we’ve got a broken health care system.”