WASHINGTON – Don Rosenberg, president of Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime, said AVIAC’s members are “extremely disappointed” in the White House’s immigration framework.
Rosenberg called on Congress to “do the right thing” and support more immigration law enforcement instead of “cheap labor” and campaign contributions. He also said it is “mind-boggling” that some cities do not alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the arrest of an undocumented immigrant.
“Many of us on the board had campaigned with President Trump. He promised all of us he would end sanctuary cities. He would build his wall and border security and get E-Verify established. We were extremely disappointed by the framework that has been set up, which basically gives amnesty to anywhere from 1.8 million to probably 3 million people and if it ever happens a wall gets built,” Rosenberg said during a recent press conference at the National Press Club.
“That leaves all the people in the country here illegally and committing crimes and killing people every day still here and, as far as we are concerned, nothing should be done about DACA, DREAMers or any other person in the country illegally until those issues are taken care of – the issues that protect the American people and legal immigrants,” he added.
Trump’s immigration framework includes a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries in 10-12 years if certain requirements are met in exchange for limits on family reunification or “chain migration,” elimination of the visa lottery and funding more barriers or “walls” along the southern border. Trump’s plan would cover 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, which includes up to 800,000 who were issued work permits under President Obama’s DACA program.
Michelle Root’s daughter Sarah was killed one day after her college graduation in 2016 by a driver with a blood alcohol content at three times the legal limit. Edwin G. Mejia, charged in the fatal crash, was living in the country illegally and may have fled the U.S. after jumping bail.
“We need to secure our border and end sanctuary cities. We need to protect our American citizens. We cannot continue to protect criminals,” Root said at the press conference. “I also agree with E-Verify because had we had that in place, this 19-year-old that killed my daughter would not have been here. He came over the border at age 16 unaccompanied. He was asked when stopped at the border, ‘Do you fear your home country, Honduras?’ He stated ‘no.’”
Root said Mejia was sent to California, where he connected with his undocumented brother before coming to Nebraska.
“This needs to end,” she said.
In the past, Root has testified in Congress about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. ICE rejected a request from local authorities to issue a detainer on Mejia. He is listed on ICE’s “most wanted” list.
“Edwin was not a stranger to law enforcement and failed to honor his legal obligations for minor traffic infractions. Now a failed local judicial system that set his bail too low coupled with flawed Obama administration policies have rewarded the illegal and punished my family and hampered law enforcement in their investigations,” she said in previous congressional testimony.
Maureen Maloney’s son Matthew Denice was killed in 2011 by an “illegal alien who was drunk, driving without a license and ran through a stop sign colliding with Matthew on his motorcycle.”
“He was 23 years old. He had just graduated college and he had dreams, too. He had dreams of becoming a police officer,” she said at the press conference. “Every day you read in the newspaper about another family that has been affected by an illegal alien killing their loved one, and it rips our hearts over and over again. I’m tired of it. I’ve tried being polite.”
Maloney continued, “I’ve tried playing by the rules. The politicians give you lip service. It has got to end. They have to start stepping up and doing what’s best for the American people and they need to start by having local law enforcement cooperating with ICE so they can deport these illegal aliens at their first point of contact with law enforcement. We need to end sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities are just a magnet to bring in more illegal aliens.”
Maloney said city mayors who release illegal immigrants after they are taken into custody “should all be arrested for aiding and embedding and harboring criminals.”
“Lastly, we need a mandatory E-Verify system. We need a deterrent. People come here for the money, for the jobs; we need a mandatory E-Verify system that not only e-verifies all new employees but e-verifies all employees,” she said. “It’s time for our politicians to put Americans first and realize that Americans have dreams, too.”
Maria Tavares Leite, an unlicensed illegal immigrant, hit Maureen Laquerre’s brother Richard V. Grossi on the driver’s side of his vehicle in 2009. He died from the injuries suffered during the crash, which occurred two blocks from his house.
“If they keep going with the sanctuary cities, I agree, they should be locked up,” Laquerre said.
Mary Ann Mendoza’s son Sgt. Brandon Mendoza was killed in 2011 by Raul Silva-Corona, whose blood-alcohol content was 0.24 percent while operating the motor vehicle that struck her son. She later found out he was not deported 20 years ago after being convicted of crimes in Colorado.
Mendoza said most politicians are acting like victims of illegal immigrant crime “don’t exist.”
“They want to bring forward all these best scenario cases of illegal sob stories being separated from their families. Every one of us are separated from our loved ones and there are hundreds of thousands of other American victims in this country that haven’t stepped forward,” she said, mentioning crimes such as assault, murder and identity theft.
Sabine Durden, a legal immigrant from Germany living in the U.S., said her son Dominic was killed by an illegal alien in a car accident in 2012. The killer had two prior DUIs and was previously deported.
“We have to live with this 24/7, 365 days a year. There’s never a moment in our life that we don’t,” she said. “I’m begging you. Stop this carnage. Stop letting our American children’s die. Make sure they get to fulfill their dreams. He didn’t. He wanted to become a helicopter pilot – that ended that day. My dreams ended of being a mother-in-law and grandmother. We all have to live with a nightmare.”
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, Md., said his country has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation partly because it cooperates with ICE to turn over illegal immigrants with criminal records.
“We do not allow criminals to be released from our jails back on the streets of Frederick County to victimize more Americans – totally unnecessary – not one victim across this country should be a victim of a crime by an illegal immigrant,” he said at the press conference.
“If we can secure this border – and I mean absolute border security – to stem the flow of heroin, of illegal drugs, human trafficking, all the crime, the cartel criminal activity that comes with it, we can go a long way in securing our communities across America,” he added.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), a supporter of the DREAM Act, often mentions that El Paso, Texas, a border community, is one of the safest cities in the country. Security company SafeWise ranked El Paso second-safest city in the country last year based on FBI crime stats and per capita rates.
Sheriff Thomas Hodgson of Bristol County, Mass., said many undocumented immigrants caught at the border do not commit crimes within border communities due to the fear of getting caught right away.
“When you are sneaking into this country, the last place you want to be is the place you crossed the border,” he said. “You want to get as far away from there as you can and move yourself into a city like a sanctuary city.”