Congress shouldn’t make matters worse by rewarding millions of illegal aliens for their law-breaking with a massive amnesty grant. Lax Immigration Enforcement Leads to Tragedy

By Michael Lynch

Imagine this… Your 18 year-old daughter graduates from high school and enrolls at a local college.  It’s quite an exciting time for her and the whole family.  Your daughter completes her first semester, adjusts well and enjoys college life.

But one day while you are at work, a man breaks into your house and finds your daughter home alone, studying.  The man orders her to strip.  Terrified, she complies.  He duct tapes her mouth, binds her hands behind her back and forces her down onto the bed where he stabs her to death.

Sound frightening?  It’s not fiction.  This is exactly what happened to Jenny Garcia.  In February 2004, Jenny’s two little sisters found her lifeless body in her bed, the knife still sticking out of her chest.  Police later arrested David Morales and charged him with Jenny’s murder.

Shockingly, Jenny’s murder should have been prevented.  Morales was an illegal alien who had been previously arrested in Austin, Texas, for molesting a 12-year-old girl more than a year before he killed Jenny.

Common sense says that Morales should have never been in the United States long enough to kill Jenny.  He should have been deported when he was caught the first time.  And his status as an illegal alien should have been an automatic one-way ticket out of the country.  But Austin is a “sanctuary city,” meaning that local authorities do not inquire about a criminal suspect’s immigration status after an arrest.  So instead of being deported, Morales was let go — put back on the street to commit another horrible crime.

Jenny’s father is now considering a lawsuit against the City of Austin, alleging that the city is responsible for his daughter’s death because of its “sanctuary” policy.  Meanwhile, dozens of cities across the country are protecting illegal aliens who commit heinous crimes by adopting “sanctuary city” status, and the results of these policies are as disturbing as they are tragic.

Consider these other examples.

In February 2005, an illegal alien raped and murdered 16-year-old Brittany Binger, beating her so badly that the authorities needed dental records to identify her body.  The perpetrator, Oswelda Martinez, had been in custody months earlier in 2004 for drunk driving, driving without a license and possessing a fake Social Security card.  Yet Martinez stayed in the United States in spite of his arrest.

In July 2004, Roberto Martinez-Ruizan knocked Justin Goodman off his motorcycle with a Ford Explorer, leaving him to die in the street.  Driving on a revoked license, Martinez-Ruizan was also in the United States illegally.  Upon his arrest months later, police learned that Martinez-Ruizan had six known aliases and a long rap sheet, with offenses ranging from careless driving to driving under the influence.  He even served jail time in 2000, but the authorities either never required him to produce proper identification or never reported his illegal immigration status.  Not surprisingly, by the time he hit Goodman, Martinez-Ruizan was not only illegally in this country, but he was wanted for violating probation and failing to appear in court, too.

The primary duty of government is to protect its citizens — “Establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,” in the words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.  But the failure of federal, state and local authorities to enforce our immigration laws is putting both Americans and America at risk.  The tragedy in Austin is but the latest example.

To be sure, most illegal aliens aren’t murderers or rapists, but they have all broken the law. And political expedience is not a reason to ignore it.  State and local law enforcement should enforce the immigration laws already on the books. And Congress shouldn’t make matters worse by rewarding millions of illegal aliens for their law-breaking with a massive amnesty grant, an idea now under consideration in Washington.  

Our elected representatives and law enforcement officials shouldn’t need a reminder that we are nation of laws, but if they do, let them hear it now. American citizens should not have to endure even one more preventable tragedy.

Michael Lynch is a Research Associate for the Center for Individual Freedom.

April 7, 2005
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