The Washington Times’ Stephan Dinan explored one product of President Obama’s decision to relocate and care for, rather than deport unaccompanied alien children that surged over the southern border. He found that some of the minors have been charged with serious crimes such as murder and aggravated rape – a harbinger of problems to come this year as DHS begins to handle another surge. This undermines Obama's "felons, not families" rationale for his November 2014 amnesties, which are now the subject of litigation in a Texas District court
When unaccompanied alien children (UACs) and alien families began to surge over the border, President Obama decided to apply the 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which allows UACs from non-contiguous countries to receive an immigration hearing in lieu of immediate deportation. But as noted in a Center for Immigration Studies study, the vast majority were not considered “unaccompanied alien children” under to the federal definition.
Federal law defines an “unaccompanied alien child” as an illegal alien under the age of 18 who is without “a parent or legal guardian in the United States.” The overwhelming majority of surge minors reportedly wanted to meet up with family or guardians here. Likewise there was little evidence they were victims of “trafficking,” which entails coercion. Instead, families and their children are reportedly willing participants in smuggling operations. Still, the Administration employed the law to keep the aliens in the U.S.
Dinan writes, “From the law, which requires most of the children to be turned over to social workers, to immigration authorities and the court system, which allow most of them to abscond, never showing up to be deported, to the lack of a safety net to help the children once they’re free in the country, the cases suggest a broken process nearly from start to finish, with some children getting lost in the system and others being released because of overcrowding, only to reappear when they’re called before a judge to answer for a bigger crime.”
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told Dinan “The eagerness of the administration to open our borders is not without consequence. Now we’re seeing some of these same minors in the criminal justice system, and the crimes some are being brought in for are very serious, even heinous. The administration, with their approach, wants to assume everyone that shows up on America’s doorstep has good intentions, but that’s a dangerous assumption, and we’re seeing evidence of the fact.”
Dinan describes the case of one Honduran “UAC” -- Jonny Alberto Enamorado-Vasquez – who now awaits trial in Houston for capital murder. Enamorado crossed the border illegally in 2012 to meet up with his father, who was living illegally in New Orleans. After turning himself in to Border Patrol agents, his father could not be found so he was transferred back and forth between the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services. Authorities later released him from detention due to ‘lack of space.’
Enamorado was last year accused of being “part of a January homicide that saw three armed men burst into a smoke shop, find and confront owner Michael Phelan, which sparked a gunbattle that killed Phelan. Attorneys had difficulty in defending him because of his age. “He initially was booked as a 17-year-old and processed as a juvenile and placed in an HHS home for illegal immigrant children. But it appears authorities realized he was actually a year older, making him an adult and thus not eligible for the special treatment afforded children.”
Another case Dinan examined was that of Honduran Jalmar Mejia-Lopez, who Border Patrol Agents caught in 2011. He was trying to connect with his brother but didn’t have a phone number so the Agents shipped him to social workers at HHS. “[They] quickly placed him with a social worker at a Catholic church in Philadelphia, who identified herself as a “family friend” and promised to look after him. A year later, he missed his deportation hearing, was ordered kicked out in absentia and disappeared into the shadows along with more than 11 million other illegal immigrants.”
He was picked up this year in Louisiana after a sheriff got a tip that a 21-year-old illegal alien had impregnated his 12-year-old girlfriend. They charged Mejia with aggravated rape and later “discovered he’d had several outstanding local warrants for traffic violations, including driving without a license and failure to maintain control of his vehicle.”
The Administration’s justification for ignoring deportation requirements is to focus limited resources on criminal aliens that pose a greater threat to society. However, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte today released data demonstrating that Obama is deporting fewer criminal aliens than last year.
Chairman Goodlatte’s data showed that deportations as well as arrests of criminal aliens dropped about 30 percent during the first six months of this fiscal year. Moreover, the 30,558 criminal aliens that ICE released back on the streets in 2014 garnered almost 80,000 convictions. These included 250 homicides, 186 kidnappings, 373 sexual assaults, 13,636 convictions for driving under the influence, 1,589 weapons offenses, 994 aggravated assaults, 56 arsons and 31 smuggling offenses.
The Administration has used the Supreme Court ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis to justify the release of criminal aliens. The justices in that case ruled that aliens can’t be held indefinitely if their home countries refuse to repatriate them. But Chairman Goodlatte’s data show that only 2,457 of the 30,000 were released due to Zadvydas considerations.
In releasing the data, Chairman Goodlatte said, “The nonsensical actions of this administration demonstrate its lack of desire to enforce the law even against unlawful aliens convicted of serious crimes.”
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:12pm EDT