On August 7, 2006, illegal immigrant Adan Pineda-Doval, 20, rolled a Chevrolet Suburban packed with twenty-one (yes, twenty-one) illegal immigrants while fleeing U.S. Border Patrol agents, killing eleven and injuring ten others.
According to victims' relatives and a coalition of "human rights groups," however, Mr. Pineda-Doval is not to blame – the U.S. Border Patrol is.
Border Patrol agents' task of securing America's border with Mexico is already difficult enough. On a daily basis, they risk their lives while attempting to intercept potential terrorists, enforce our nation's laws and stem the onslaught of illegal immigrants.
Moreover, the agents' jobs aren't made any easier by spineless politicians who flee from a security-first agenda, advance amnesty proposals, and hope that voters will get bored and forget the issue so that they can continue their easy lives of incumbency. The result of all this is an unsecured border that remains a soft underbelly for waves of illegal immigrants and potential mass-murdering terrorists.
Now, to make their jobs even more oppressive, Border Patrol agents are coming under withering attack – for simply doing their jobs.
The August 7 tragedy began when agents manning their El Centro Sector checkpoint near Yuma, Arizona spotted the Suburban driven by Mr. Pineda-Doval covertly maneuvering back roads. The Suburban dangerously navigated extremely steep hills at approximately 45 miles per hour, and quickly accelerated when it reached an open stretch. At that point, agents began following it.
Other agents waiting up the road from the pursuit laid a spike strip to safely deflate the tires and end the pursuit. But Mr. Pineda-Doval had a different idea, and decided to jeopardize the lives of his occupants by swerving to avoid the spike strip at approximately 80 miles per hour. Border Patrol Spokesman Lloyd Frers reported that the spike strips are "specifically designed to safely deflate a tire," and the agents properly deployed them in this instance.
According to Agent Frers, however, "the driver saw them, quite obviously, and still crashed because he was trying to break the law and get away. I absolutely, one hundred percent believe the spike strips were used in a safe manner."
The U.S. Attorney for Arizona quickly obtained an eleven-count federal grand jury indictment of Mr. Pineda-Doval, who now faces life in prison or the death penalty.
To any reasonable observer, culpability lies squarely upon the shoulders of Mr. Pineda-Doval, who recklessly killed eleven people because he valued his getaway more than their safety.
But according to Victor Hugo, brother of a comatose victim, the driver is not to blame. Nor, for that matter, does he fault any of the twenty-one illegal immigrants who intentionally violated U.S. immigration laws and dangerously packed themselves into the Suburban.
Rather, he baldly faults the Border Patrol.
"This is an injustice," Mr. Hugo says. "Why did they use spikes to stop them? These were human beings, not armed criminals. They could have followed the vehicle until it ran out of gas."
The Border Human Rights Working Group, a pro-illegal alien interest group, agrees with Mr. Hugo. In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff demanding the end of such pursuits, it bizarrely protests that smugglers risk their lives and the lives of human cargo to avoid Border Patrol agents and possible criminal penalties for smuggling. "Under these well-known circumstances," the letter states, "hot pursuit cases by the Border Patrol are a recipe for death, injury and the destruction of property."
In other words, illegal immigrants and their liberal advocates within the United States not only oppose new initiatives to secure our border, but literally demand that the Border Patrol not even follow its current procedures.
This farce follows an incident in which Border Patrol agents pursuing a suspicious vehicle near Yuma, Arizona came under attack by Mexicans throwing softball-sized rocks, chunks of concrete and whole bricks. One agent was struck in the head by a rock, and they were forced to respond by shooting and killing one of the assailants in self-defense.
In addition, as we reported last week, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been charged by our own federal government for firing upon a drug-smuggling illegal alien who assaulted them and attempted to flee back across the border.
Simply put, Border Patrol agents are increasingly under both physical and rhetorical attack, all for simply doing their jobs.
This intolerable state of affairs is the inevitable consequence of a political climate in which our elected leaders set the tone through timidity and cynicism. To many politicians, the issue of border security takes a backseat to placating potential illegal immigrant voters, which only serves to embolden liberal activists and illegal immigrants themselves. How better to explain the increasing violence toward agents by drug smugglers, alien-smuggling "coyotes" and even illegal immigrants themselves?
This rapidly-deteriorating spectacle must be stopped. Americans must demand border security and support for Border Patrol agents from their elected leaders, or we can only expect more of the same.
The time to act is now, before an already-critical situation becomes terminal for our country as we know it.August 31, 2006
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