DHS Gives Criminal Alien Privacy but Snubs Victim

By Jessica M. Vaughan on December 21, 2012

Last month I reported the alarming news that ICE intended to take a pass on deporting Roberto Galo, a Honduran who was convicted of killing Drew Rosenberg in a 2010 traffic crash in San Francisco. Adding insult to the Rosenberg family's horrific injury, the ICE Public Advocate, whose office was created and funded to assist the public with their concerns about immigration law enforcement, has ignored repeated attempts by the victim’s father to contact him and discuss the case.

Roberto Galo

Galo, who was in the United States illegally until receiving Temporary Protected Status (TPS) more than a decade ago, was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license. Galo also had prior driving offenses and drives unlicensed because he failed the test three times.

The Public Advocate did tell me that they have informed USCIS, the TPS–granting agency, of Galo's convictions in the hope that USCIS will withdraw Galo’s status. Under the law (Section 244(c)(2)(B)(i)), aliens who are convicted of two or more misdemeanors are ineligible for TPS, and there is no waiver available.

In the meantime, Galo has been released from jail after serving a sentence of about 40 days. ICE apparently chose not to issue a detainer enabling them to take custody, despite Galo's record of repeated disregard for traffic laws and the safety of others, and the strong case for withdrawal of his TPS. Readers in San Francisco, be careful out there, killer-motorist on the loose! There is no indication he is being supervised in any meaningful way.

Yesterday, Mr. Rosenberg wrote to the Public Advocate again:

Dear Mr. Lorenzen-Strait:

. . . As [you are] the Public Advocate of the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations I would assume that I am the public and Roberto Galo should be part of the enforcement and removal. However, what I have learned in the two plus years since he killed my son is that every facet of government, despite the law, from the police to the district attorney and now to ICE seems to be more committed to protect these people and to hell with law abiding citizens. . . .

The policy in question is not counting driving without a license as a serious offense. For your knowledge unlicensed drivers kill over 7,000 people every year. That is second only to drunk drivers. Is that serious enough?

I await your call but please realize that my patience is running thin. For killing my son Galo spent all of 43 days in jail. I shouldn't have to wait that long to hear from the agency whose job it is to deport him immediately back to Honduras.

Don Rosenberg

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For its part, USCIS refuses to divulge any information to the Rosenbergs about whether it will withdraw Galo's status, citing concern about his privacy. It is DHS policy to give aliens the same privacy rights as U.S. citizens, even though federal law does not offer these protections:

As a matter of law, the Privacy Act of 1974 ("Privacy Act"), 5 U.S.C. § 552a, as amended, provides statutory privacy rights to U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs). The Privacy Act does not cover visitors or aliens. As a matter of DHS policy, any personally identifiable information (PII) that is collected, used, maintained, and/or disseminated in connection with a mixed system by DHS shall be treated as a System of Records subject to the Privacy Act regardless of whether the information pertains to a U.S. citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, visitor, or alien.

Once again, DHS does a better job of protecting illegal aliens than American citizens.