The Maryland State Police department is investigating as a hate crime anti-immigration graffiti written on building in Westminster that was briefly considered for use as a shelter for unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant children, according to the Carroll County Times.
The spray-painted message states: “No illeagles here. No undocumented Democrats.”
Lt. Patrick McCrory, commander of the state police Westminster barracks, told the Times that he considers the message a hate crime.
“This is definitely a racial, religious, ethnic incident,” McCrory said.
He said the message — which misspells “illegals” — likely went up Saturday night or early Sunday, and he said police do not yet have any suspects or witnesses. He told the paper that this is the sort of activity that someone might boast about on Facebook or to friends.
“Usually, that’s how these people get caught,” McCrory told the county paper. “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone starts bragging about it.”
State Police did not immediately return requests for comment made by The Washington Post.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is looking for places to house thousands of Central American children who have arrived on the southwest border since October and must be cared for while the government decides their future. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) last week said he opposed making these children leave the United States.
“It is contrary to everything we stand for as a people to try to summarily send children back to death . . . in a place where drug gangs are the greatest threat to stability, rule of law and democratic institutions in this hemisphere,” O’Malley said at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Nashville.
But those children will not likely be sheltered in Maryland. The former Army Reserve facility in Westminster was briefly considered by federal officials, sparking swift and angry protest from Carroll County leaders. Similar protests have erupted in other parts of the country.
The Westminster site is no longer under consideration, an agency spokesman said Monday.
Westminster is about 35 miles northwest of Baltimore. Carroll County is a heavily Republican enclave in a state where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.
In January 2013, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted to make English the official language — to save money on translating fees, officials said at the time — despite protests that such actions are not welcoming to immigrants.
“If you immigrate to America, then you’re going to learn our language. I’m not going to learn yours,” Commissioner Richard Rothschild said in late 2012 as the issue was debated. “It’s simple — when in Rome, do like the Romans.”
According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, 93 percent of the county’s 167,560 residents are white, and less than 4 percent were born in another country.
Westminster, which has about 18,600 residents, is slightly more diverse, with 86 percent of people identifying as white, 7 percent as black or African American, and 6 percent as Latino or Hispanic. Less than 5 percent of Westminster residents were born in another country, which is a considerably lower percentage than the state’s rate of nearly 14 percent.