Another Look at Victims and Humane Treatment under the Law

By Dan Cadman on March 27, 2014

Even as the president, bowing to his open-borders supporters, orders his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to find "humane" ways to administer the immigration laws (which may mean "ignoring" those laws, including against previously deported aliens whose presence constitutes a federal felony), communities throughout the nation continue to lurch from tragedy to tragedy based on the actions of illegal aliens who violate our laws, large and small, with impunity.

I am amazed at the lopsided nature of this demand for humaneness. It is apparently always and solely to be exercised on behalf of illegally present aliens who have only themselves to blame for their circumstances, choosing as they have to enter and remain in our country with no lawful authority. By contrast, little or no thought is given to U.S. citizens or lawful residents who are harmed by such aliens.

A few days ago, I blogged about Niche Knight, a U.S. citizen whose legs were amputated after being hit by an intoxicated illegal alien who had no business behind the wheel, drunk or sober — a tragedy compounded because not only did DHS officials not advocate for the citizen, they downright stiffed her when she attempted to obtain information on the offender, information to which she was legally entitled insofar as illegal aliens have no privacy rights under the federal Privacy Act.

Another tragedy found its way into the pages of the Chicago Tribune this week. It was the story of a mother and daughter, Alicia Guerrero and Briana Valle, respectively, who repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought protection from Briana's boyfriend, Erick Maya, who ultimately shot them both, wounding the mother and killing the daughter, according to police. It is noteworthy that Maya is an adult; Briana was a minor. It is also noteworthy that Maya was illegally in the United States. And it is noteworthy that at the time this occurred, Maya was a convicted offender — on probation for domestic abuse against a previous girlfriend.

Why hadn't he been picked up and held for deportation proceedings after that conviction? This time, the fault appears to reside not with DHS or its subordinate agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but with local authorities. ICE duly filed a detainer against Maya, but the Cook County Sheriff's Office opted not to honor the detainer. Sheriff Tom Dart asserts he couldn't because of a county ordinance prohibiting his office from fully cooperating with ICE.

That seems to me a poor shift. As stupid as the county ordinance is, Dart has never been a stalwart advocate for immigration enforcement. What is more, I do not see why local ordinances should be permitted to trump the proper operation of federal law and regulation, which at least in theory are supposed to predominate.

Nor is this the first tragedy to have taken place in metropolitan Chicago/Cook County as the result of the failure of the police and sheriff's office to take effective action. As my CIS colleague Jessica Vaughan noted two years ago:

In June 2011, an illegal alien and habitual drunk driver named Saul Chavez ran over and killed Dennis McCann, of Chicago. Chavez had recently finished a sentence of two years of probation for an earlier aggravated drunk driving offense. The judge set bond at $250,000, and ICE issued a detainer, but just before Thanksgiving, Chavez's brother appeared with the $25,000 cash, so the sheriff's office took the money and let Chavez run.

So here we see the practical application of just one county ordinance restricting law enforcement officers' ability to honor ICE detainers, depending on the crime. Many illegal alien advocates have pushed for jurisdictions to overlook such "minor" crimes as driving under the influence, even though thousands of persons are killed each year on American highways by drunk and high drivers, illegal or otherwise. Other advocates also have suggested that domestic abuse is an equally "minor" crime for which detainers should be ignored. That's what happened to Briana Valle.

Let me suggest to you that if you have never done so, get to know a local cop; talk to him or her about traffic patrol duties and responding to domestic violence calls. They will tell you that those are two of the most dangerous responsibilities that any police officer in the United States must deal with.

So ask yourself why these should be treated as "minor" for immigration enforcement purposes. Imagine the havoc that will take place when sanctuary statutes are placed on the books at a statewide level, as has happened in California with the "Trust Act" (a sad misnomer) and similar bills working their way through legislatures in Maryland and Massachusetts — statutes that will ensure that dozens, perhaps hundreds, more citizens and lawful residents are victimized by illegal alien criminals who are permitted to escape the immigration penalties for their depraved indifference to the law.

How do county sheriffs and commissioners and state lawmakers explain to their constituents that they care more about illegal aliens than the true victims of crime committed by those aliens -- victims like Dennis McCann, Niche Knight, and Briana Valle and their families? How do they sleep at night? Damned if I know.