Republican gubernatorial canidate refused a request Monday that he disavow Frederick County sheriff Charles Jenkins, just as Hogan distanced himself from a far right-wing GOP candidate for the Anne Arundel County Council.
CASA de Maryland called on Hogan to withdraw his support from Jenkins, a Republican seeking re-election, after the sheriff took a trip to the U.S. border with Mexico financed by an organization that strongly advocates for tougher enforcement of immigration laws. Jenkins is known for his hard-line stance on immigration.
Jenkins recently toured the border with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that some critics consider a hate group with ties to white supremacists. FAIR has denied that charge and denounced the Southern Poverty Law Center, which compiles a nationally watched list of what it considers hate organizations.
Last week Hogan dissociated his campaign from that of Michael Peroutka, who won the June 24 GOP primary for and Arundel council seat, over Peroutka's ties to the neo-Confederate League of the South, which advocates secession from the United States. Hogan said those views have "never been a part of the Republican Party and they never will.”
CASA puts Jenkins in the same category, arguing that he has used his office illegally detain Latinos without probable cause. It pointed to a U.S. Court of Appeals finding that the Frederick sheriff's department had illegally confronted a woman based on her appearance.
The pro-immigration group expressed dismay that the Hogan campaign had recently posted on its web site a photo of the candidate with Jenkins in front of the Frederick County Detention Center.
"We would urge you to take a principled stance, as you did against Mr. Peroutka, by publicly disavowing Sheriff Jenkins and his illegal tactics of intimidation against minorities," CASA President Gustavo Torres wrote.
The Hogan campaign released a statement stading by Jenkins and opposing what it called an "open border policy."
"Sheriff Jenkins is a locally-elected law enforcement leader who is enforcing current federal immigration laws and believes immigration reform first requires securing our borders. It is up to his constituents to determine whether his course of action is best for their county," the statement said. "CASA, on the other hand, supports nearly universal amnesty and immediately bestowing the benefits of citizenship including the full range of government assistance on all persons regardless of immigration status."