CRIME

Frederick murder case sparks debate about illegal immigration

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The arrest of a suspect in the murder of a Frederick Burger King manager has ignited a debate in Frederick County about illegal immigration.

The suspect arrested by police, 21-year-old Jose Reyes Mejia-Varela, is an illegal immigrant who had already been deported once before.

Federal criminal charges are pending against Mejia-Varela for illegally re-entering the country after having been deported as an aggravated felon, police say. He has also been charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, first and second-degree assault and theft.

County Commissioner Blaine Young is proposing a package of rules to drive illegal immigrants out of Frederick County.

“What happened was this hit kind of close to home. So we kind of fast-tracked some of those initiatives we want to look at,” Young said.

He wants to strengthen an existing English-language ordinance, require businesses to use a government data base to verify employees’ status, prohibit the rental of homes and apartments to illegal immigrants and prohibit day-labor gathering sites.

“We should not be offering assistance to people that aren't here legally,” Young said.

Some Frederick residents share Young’s sentiment, but others argue the rules go too far.

“Bottom line, if you're an illegal immigrant, you're here illegally. You got to enforce the law,” said John Hardin.

“There’s absolutely a middle ground for finding a way to accept all who come to this country and adhere to our laws,” counters Chris Garcia.

Young predicts the proposals will become law.

“People have said Frederick is the (…) unfriendliest county in the state of Maryland when it comes to illegal aliens. We wear that as a badge of honor,” he said.

What do you think? Vote in the poll on the WJLA website.

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