The July 5 San Francisco murder of Kate Steinle at the hands of a multiply deported alien felon brought cries of outrage from the public, followed shortly thereafter by the predictable cacophony of a hopelessly divided country.
Some members of Congress vowed to put a spotlight on the problem and to end illegal alien sanctuaries, while others committed unpardonable gaffes by referring to the murder as “a little thing” or disrespecting the family members of citizens who died at the hands of alien criminals by leaving during their testimony at hearings held by Senate committees on which they sit.
Much of the media jerked back and forth like ill-controlled Punch and Judy puppets, wanting to share the public expressions of outrage, but also in their ridiculous politically correct way wanting somehow to avoid laying blame at the doorsteps of either the alien “migrants” or the sanctuary governments that let them walk free, leaving the journalists spinning and unsure of exactly how to portray events.
Here at the Center, we found that, for those interested in finger pointing, there was more than enough blame to go around — not just with sanctuary governments, but also with an administration that has worked hard to gut credible immigration enforcement and with politicians who often bluster, but rarely muster the fortitude to actually get anything done legislatively.
A month has passed since Ms. Steinle’s death and nothing meaningful has been accomplished. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to try to sell a watered-down, ineffectual, pick-what-you-like / dump-what-you-don’t “Priority Enforcement Program” to state and local governments; sanctuary cities unapologetically continue to thumb their noses at even those weak efforts; and no adequate legislative fix has been passed in either house of Congress.
As I said in an earlier posting, “All of this bodes badly for the American public, and even for aliens, legal or illegal, in migrant communities everywhere who will also be victimized by these offenders. The forecast: many more victims.”
I knew I would be right when I said it. After all, it didn’t take any far-seeing sibyl to realize that would be the case — but I am thoroughly disheartened at how quickly it’s proven true, and to see the body count rising with no more public clamor, perhaps because our society seems to suffer from some collective form of attention deficit disorder in which outrages last one or two news cycles, and then we’re on to the next disaster. So let me try to re-focus at least a little attention by sharing a sampling of the new victims whose deaths might have been prevented by effective cooperation between state and local police on one hand, and federal immigration authorities on the other.
The deceased victim: 65-year-old Marilyn Pharis.
The suspects: 20-year-old Jose Villagomez and 29-year-old Victor Aureliano Martinez-Ramirez, both apparently illegally in the United States, although news outlets have not indicated their nationalities — perhaps out of an abundance of political correctness.
The place: Santa Maria, Calif.
The circumstances: The victim was severely beaten with a hammer during a home invasion. She was also sexually assaulted. It took her eight days to die. Martinez-Ramirez had an extensive arrest record “for minor crimes”, and was on probation for at least one conviction at the time of the offense. State and local authorities have declined to say whether or not they notified ICE of his prior arrests and conviction(s), although they took the time to do so after he was arrested for the assault on Ms. Pharis.
The deceased victim: Margaret Kostelnick. (Other victims who survived were a 14-year-old girl the suspect attempted to rape and a second woman the suspect attempted to murder.)
The suspect: 35-year-old Mexican national Juan Emmanuel Razo, illegally in the United States.
The place: Lake County, Ohio.
The circumstances: Razo went on a crime spree that began with the attempted rape, then the attempted murder, before finally killing his third and final victim. Sheriff’s deputies say that they first encountered Razo loitering in a parking lot on July 7 and contacted U.S. Border Patrol agents who said that he did not meet DHS priorities for deportation proceedings absent a conviction and requested that the deputies release him.
The deceased victims: Husband and wife Jason and Tana Shane, Native Americans of the Crow nation. (Their daughter, Jorah, was also shot in the back while fleeing).
The suspect: 18-year-old Jesus Deniz-Mendoza, Mexican national and lawful permanent resident, whose Facebook page prominently displayed a “Brown Pride” emblem.
The place: Crow Indian Reservation near Pryor, Mont.
The circumstances: Deniz-Mendoza says he shot them because he thought they had laughed at him — although in fact they had pulled off the highway to aid him when they thought he needed help. Deniz-Mendoza had been arrested for burglary less than two weeks earlier, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents filed no detainer for lack of a conviction. Some journalists have suggested that he did have prior convictions for serious charges — but that they were handled in juvenile court and the records were sealed, thus making it impossible for ICE to either verify or to use them in establishing the needed proof in a deportation proceeding.
How many more victims will it take before something is done? Have we completely lost our moral compass as a nation?
Dan Cadman is a research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, see his blog here.