If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had a loyalty rewards program, surely Constantino Banda-Acosta would be a platinum member. Banda-Acosta, a 38-year-old citizen of Mexico, has been deported from the United States at least 15 times according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Last week, while driving drunk, he allegedly blew through a stop sign and smashed into another vehicle, seriously injuring Lennox Lake, a six-year-old boy who was on his way home from a family trip to Disneyland. Banda-Acosta didn't stop or seek help, and the poor little boy had to undergo two surgeries at a Children's Hospital. (Donate to his GoFundMe page here.)
Banda-Acosta, who has pled not guilty, also has previous infractions include domestic violence arrests from 2006 and on January 9 this year, when he was removed for the fifteenth time. This is a guy who has essentially made a career out of violating our laws, sneaking back in, and then reoffending. We've used taxpayer money to deport him 15 times and, with any luck, can look forward to deportation No. 16 soon.
Anyone who still isn't convinced that we need to secure our borders needs to read Lennox Lake's sad story. But in all likelihood, only those who read conservative news outlets or live in the San Diego area will find out about his case. Editors have the power to take local stories like this one and elevate them into national stories. We see this all the time, for example, in cases where white police officers shoot black men or when someone with a heartbreaking story is deported.
When a local story suits the agenda of the news outlet, it's promoted to the national stage, but when it doesn't, it's ignored. As soon as I read this story, I knew it would be largely ignored by the big newspapers, CNN, MSNBC, and the networks. And yet conservative news outlets give stories like this one big play. This is one of the reasons why the country is so divided —what we hear, see, and read is heavily impacted by our news choices.
It isn't just liberal bias that causes editors to ignore outrageous stories like this, although that certainly is a factor. It is also the view that publicizing stories like these might engender ill will toward all immigrants or those who appear foreign. This is a kind of disdain for the reader/viewer/listener. Editors who make a practice of ignoring stories like this one are essentially telling their readers: you're too stupid to process this story and place it in its proper context. The consumer of news is viewed as a dolt who, if fed the wrong information, might go out and do something terrible.
Documenting crime cases involving illegal immigrants in the news is indeed a tricky business. I agree that it's senseless and perhaps even harmful to over-cover illegal immigrant crime stories if there is no policy significance to the case. But when you have crime-related stories that illustrate the failure of sanctuary cities to protect American citizens, those incidents deserve to be covered because they have clear implications for policymakers. And stories like the Lennox Lake case, which illustrate what a revolving door our border is, deserve extensive coverage for the same reason.
This isn't illegal immigrant crime porn; it's a story that encapsulates the urgent need to secure our borders. Editors can attempt to distort reality by feeding the public a steady diet of deportation sob stories, giving the public the false impression that the only people being removed from the country are altar boys and saints. But they also have a responsibility to cover stories like the Lennox Lake case. And so, readers, viewers, and listeners must demand more balanced coverage or take their news loyalties elsewhere.