The stories plastered all over the front pages of newspapers in the Boston area reveal that the nanny accused of delivering what the police report called "abusive head trauma" to a one-year-old child, who later died, is an illegal alien. This case is further illustration of the serious deficiencies in our immigration enforcement system, and the tragedy that can result.
The accused is Aisling McCarthy Brady, a citizen of Ireland who entered the United States in 2002 under the Visa Waiver Program. She was authorized to stay 90 days, but stayed on for more than 10 years, working in a variety of jobs and accumulating a criminal history including assault charges, restraining orders, bar-room brawls, and fraudulent and malicious Facebook postings intended to destroy the career of another babysitter. The police and medical reports suggest that Brady slammed the child's head against a wall in the house, causing the fatal injuries. Brady has declared her innocence.
The good news is that now all of the nation's local law enforcement agencies are hooked up to Secure Communities, so that when non-citizens such as Brady are arrested and booked into jail, ICE is alerted and can take action. In this case, ICE quickly lodged a detainer, announcing that Brady will be deported as soon as the local prosecutors are finished with her and she serves any sentence that may be imposed.
If she is not convicted, ICE might just let her stay, because under current policies its officers are permitted to move against only those aliens who have three misdemeanor convictions or more.
Like so many other illegal aliens, Brady was able to enter and remain far too easily. Ireland and other countries are allowed to remain in the Visa Waiver Program, sending millions of visitors each year, even though DHS has no system to confirm how many of those visitors overstay, makes no effort to deter them, and expends little effort to remove those few who are caught. Instead, the Obama administration and members of Congress have sought to expand the Visa Waiver Program to add countries like Poland, Brazil, and, most recently, Israel, all of which have a tradition of illegal settlement here.
Most experts believe that 30 to 50 percent of illegal aliens are legal entry overstayers, not illegal land border crossers. But senior ICE officials say that they cannot routinely seek to deport visa waiver violators and other overstays because the immigration courts are too backlogged and their resources are stretched too thinly. But those who come in under the Visa Waiver Program are low hanging fruit because they are not entitled to an immigration hearing and will not further clog the immigration court dockets.
To make matters even easier for illegal immigrants, four years ago, ICE's leadership abandoned effective worksite enforcement that resulted in the removal of illegal workers, in favor of auditing the personnel records of employers and ignoring the illegal workers. In addition, too many states like Massachusetts, where Brady settled, allow illegal aliens to access public welfare programs and to drive cars.
This is hardly a robust system of layered immigration enforcement that is sufficient to prevent continued illegal settlement that harms Americans and legal immigrants. And it should not take the death of a child to get federal officials to pay attention to illegal overstayers and the other gaps in our border security.