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An Immigration Morality Tale

I mention this as a reminder that illegal immigration also entails linguistic challenges that cannot be remedied by official notifications in two languages, English and Spanish, or with bilingual translators, etc. The most recent wave of illegal immigration is heavily weighted from Oaxaca state, and a large minority of those arrivals are both illiterate and without rudimental knowledge of Spanish or English. We can see the tragic consequences of this by the matter-of-fact reporting “it took doctors and deputies hours to learn where she lived.” I suppose that means officials were seeking those who could both speak Mixtec and English, and the search was difficult and frantic -- explaining why the deceased newborn was not found for “hours” at a time when officials hoped that he or she might still live.

And then there's the following passage:

Deputies went to the home on Chapin Street near Avenue 16 in Madera, where a resident allowed them to search it. When deputies found the infant, they returned to the hospital and confronted the mother, who admitted giving birth but insisted the child was born dead.

Here the suspect lied again. Not content with denying recent birth, she now insists untruthfully that the child was stillborn. More important is the absence of any information about “the resident” who allowed deputies “to search it,” i.e., the home. I assume the deputies had no time to obtain a search warrant, given the urgency of finding the newborn in hopes she/he might still be alive, so counted on the compliance of the “resident.” But who was the “resident” and was he/she later taken in for questioning, to ascertain whether he/she was an accessory after the fact to murder?

“Autopsy results show the baby was delivered alive and then killed, the Sheriff's Department said. The cause of death was not released.”

The Sheriff’s Department is to be congratulated for heroic efforts in rushing to the house in the vain hope that they might yet save a life. But note how everything weighs against their efforts: the alleged murderer seeks out the help of the state, not for her newborn, but for her own medical treatment. She then receives it, but frustrates the state’s effort to extend the same charity to her newborn, by lying twice -- claiming that she hadn't given birth, but then when she did, that the baby was dead.

All of which ultimately brings us to:

The girl, who comes from a village in Oaxaca, Mexico, arrived in Madera three days before giving birth, the Sheriff's Department said. She is being held in Madera County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of murder. Her bail is set at $1 million.

The story does not ascertain whether she arrived in Madera directly from a “village” in Oaxaca three days before giving birth, or had first arrived in the U.S. at a different location, and then showed up in Madera three days before giving birth. (I note however that the journalist’s description of a “Madera resident” is misleading. The suspect is no more a “resident” of Madera after three days than I would be a “resident of a village in Oaxaca” should I arrive there, stay three days, and then be charged with committing murder. There might be various characterizations of my status (visitor, foreign national, tourist, transient), but “resident of Oaxaca” would not be one.

Note there is no mention of her legal status (why is this detail omitted?), but one assumes that her inability to speak either Spanish or English and her recent arrival in Madera from somewhere just three days before her delivery suggest that there is a good chance she did not enter the U.S. legally. (Or is the U.S. issuing visas to pregnant 17-year-old teens from villages in Oaxaca who speak neither Spanish nor English and have no funds for medical care?)

The further suspicion is that she may have arrived while pregnant on the assumption that the U.S. would offer her medical treatment not available in a village of Oaxaca state. This again raises several issues. In the midst of a national debate over immigration, is the border as secure as proponents of “comprehensive immigration reform” attest? Under recent California law, arrested foreign nationals, illegally residing in the state, cannot be turned over to federal immigration authorities for possible violations of federal immigration law. Does that statute apply here now as well; in other words, is the suspect to enjoy de facto exemption from immigration-related arrest?