Criminals Start Small

By Mark Krikorian on December 29, 2011

I don't know how much national attention it got, but earlier this year there were a spate of attacks in Northern Virginia (where I live) where a man would slash a young woman's buttocks in a department store or mall and then run off. The injuries were superficial but the randomness (not to mention weirdness) of it caused a lot of concern, kind of like a farcical replay of the Beltway Sniper shootings in 2002.

Anyway, we learn today from the Washington Post that the suspect has fled to his native Peru. Now, this doesn't tell us anything about immigration in general, because there are perverts and criminals in any large population. But while the WaPo seems to have studiously avoided reporting on his immigration status, it looks like he was an illegal alien, from this September report when he was named as the suspect: "Guillen Pimentel, a former Fairfax resident, came to the United States from Peru eight or nine years ago, has worked as a day laborer." Obviously, if we did a better job at keeping out illegals, he wouldn't have been able to commit these attacks, but that's a pretty diffuse point.

The matter that specifically relates to policy is this, from the same September story: "Court records show that Guillen Pimentel has had a minor run-in with police. In 2007, he was convicted of a noise violation, according to court records."

Maybe they checked his immigration status then and found he was legal – if you're able to find evidence of that, let me know. But I suspect what happened was that they didn't check him for immigration status (Fairfax County only started Secure Communities in 2009). This was a lost opportunity, because pretty much all serious criminals start their careers with a "minor run-in with the police." If you can identify those who are illegal aliens, you can expel them before they start attacking women with razor blades.

This is why all people in all jurisdictions who are arrested and fingerprinted need to be checked not only against the FBI's records but also against immigration. The Obama administration is, in fact, continuing to expand the Bush-era program to do just that. But just as important, DHS needs to build the capacity to actually deport all the illegals reported to them by the police; that is something the current administration has said it will not do under any circumstances, openly announcing that only a small share of illegal aliens arrested by local police will face deportation. Note that these are people who have been arrested who are exempt from deportation, not some hapless schmoe who made an illegal left turn. Even assaulting a police officer, breaking and entering, and resisting arrest "aren't necessarily serious enough to warrant deportation under current policy" according to an ICE spokesman earlier this year commenting on another case. But if we wait til they graduate to rape or murder before deporting them, we are unnecessarily endangering our own people. But then maybe this crowd doesn't consider public safety to be the first responsibility of government.