The Biden administration’s open-border policies allowed an illegal alien to rape and kill Maryland resident Rachel Morin, a mother of five, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told The Daily Signal.

“The vast majority of people who are trying to get into this country, or who are flowing into this country, are not criminals but good people with serious issues wanting to make their life better,” Gahler said in a phone interview Monday with The Daily Signal, “but because we don’t have secure borders, we’re mixing them with people like these criminals.”

Victor Antonio Martinez Hernandez, an illegal alien from El Salvador, was arrested Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and charged with first-degree rape and murder in Morin’s death in August 2023, as The Daily Signal reported earlier Monday.

“We need to have a fair, unified-front system that helps us screen for those who want to do us harm,” Gahler, a Republican, said. “Rachel’s life should not have been taken in this manner by this person.”

Hernandez, 23, crossed the southern border illegally to enter the U.S. in February 2023, Gahler said. Six months later, in August 2023, Hernandez allegedly attacked Morin, 37, while she exercised on the Ma & Pa Heritage Trail in Bel Air, Maryland, about 30 miles northeast of Baltimore. 

This is the second time in two years that a Harford County woman has been killed by an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, Gahler said. The sheriff said the women’s violent deaths were preventable.

“We need a workable border policy that we are willing to follow,” he said. “We’re not willing to follow our laws as a country right now. We need to follow it, and we need to secure the border.”

“We need to stop the flow of drugs and stop the flow of individuals who are coming in with an intent to commit crimes, to take lives, to not contribute to what makes our country so great—that we are a wonderful place and a great melding of so many different cultures,” Gahler added. “But there needs to be a legal pathway to citizenship, and that currently does not exist.”

President Joe Biden should put forth a true bipartisan proposal as the leader of the country, Gahler said. The border was much more secure during the Trump administration, the sheriff added. 

Even before he took office in January 2021, Biden put out “the message” that the nation’s borders are open, he said. “And that’s what the world heard, and that’s what we have seen since he took office.”

In addition to being charged with killing Morin, Hernandez is accused of killing a woman in El Salvador and attacking a 9-year-old girl and her mother during a home invasion in Los Angeles in March 2023. 

“He came here to flee accountability for committing a heinous murder there and was allowed to walk into our country, or however he got in,” Gahler said. “I still fear that we’re going to stumble across someone else who has been touched by this guy’s violence, but he took Rachel’s life and [committed] that violent act out in Los Angeles.”

“That is the stuff that we need to focus on when we’re securing the border and make sure these kinds of people don’t make it in,” the Maryland sheriff said.

Hernandez was arrested after a 10-month investigation, Gahler said. About three weeks ago, on what would have been Morin’s 38th birthday, DNA evidence led to Hernandez’s identification as her killer. 

“In a world of a billion people, we were able to narrow it down to a business and a barstool in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was arrested by that police department,” Gahler said, adding that he hopes that Hernandez won’t pose a threat to anyone else for the rest of his days. 

Gahler said Congress and Biden must step up to protect American citizens and prevent another murder such as Morin’s.

“The job that they had to do is to protect our citizens in our country,” the sheriff said. “And that is what needs to be fixed.”

Virginia Allen contributed to this report.