Several victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens criticized Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s absence at an event on the southern U.S. border in McAllen, Texas Saturday, saying the Ohio Republican and champion of immigration reform should witness the violence spilling over from Mexico first hand.
The group had earlier invited Boehner and his family to tour the border with them, but Boehner’s office has not responded to the letter or issued any public statement about it since the invitation.
“Thank you all for being here this afternoon–we came down here to McAllen, Texas, where we had sent a letter to Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to come down and join us on this border to see firsthand the issues that are going on down here,” George Wilkerson, whose son Josh was murdered by an illegal alien in November 2010, said at a press conference on Saturday.
Behind Mr. Wilkerson was a tent with several empty chairs, underneath a banner reading: “McAllen TX Welcomes Spkr Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) & Family.”
“We are part of the victims of the problem out here–our son was murdered in Pearland, Texas, from an illegal immigrant,” George Wilkerson said at the event, hosted by the Remembrance Project–a group devoted to remembering victims of horrific crimes like murder and homicide committed by illegal aliens.
“We have invited John to come down here, and his family, to see firsthand what’s going on and as you can see they failed to show up for us,” George Wilkerson said. “I think they need to show up and give us some respect.”
“He was tortured, beaten to death, strangled and then set on fire,” Laura Wilkerson, with her husband George at her side, added about their son Josh’s murder by an illegal alien. “We know firsthand what it feels like to have that happen to a family. Again, we invited John Boehner down here to see–this is a learning weekend for us to come down here and actually see what’s going on as opposed to some snippets you see on the news. We really thought this one American child might be worth coming down just to take a look and see what’s actually here and walk where we’re walking and find out just exactly what is the truth about what’s going on.”
Maria Espinosa, the national director of the Remembrance Project, told Breitbart News she booked hotel rooms for Boehner and his family members in the case he decided it would be worth visiting the border in the first week of congressional recess.
“In Texas, we believe in ‘southern hospitality’ and we have taken the liberty in making hotel accommodations for Mr. and Mrs. Boehner, their daughters, sons-in-law, and their grandchildren,” Espinosa said in an email. “We will also provide a list of items that would make the speaker and his families’ trip comfortable and in adapting to the hot Texas weather. It is very important to Texas families, and all American families, that our public servants fully understand the importance of their actions. It is their duty to be knowledgeable and be well aware of a situation prior to making decisions – life and death decisions, literally – for our families.”
Espinosa even provided Breitbart News with the hotel receipts for the rooms she booked for Boehner and his family at the Embassy Suites in McAllen.
In the closing days before the August recess, the House passed a pair of bills including one that blocked President Barack Obama from continuing or expanding executive amnesty via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or programs like it. DACA would have, if it were in place in 2010 when Josh Wilkerson was brutally murdered, likely applied to Josh’s murderer, as Hermilo Moralez was 19 and an illegal immigrant who came to the United States before he was 18. Moralez, someone congressional Democrats refer to as a “DREAMer,” has since been convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The other House bill included a supplemental appropriations package and a series of crackdowns on the asylum process for illegal aliens.
House leadership had initially proposed legislation that didn’t address DACA and had relatively weak language on asylum petitions, but were forced to strengthen the proposal after a rebellion from conservative lawmakers prevented House passage of it.
The chaotic process ultimately led to a moment of GOP unity that seemed to frustrate Democrats, culminating with Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shouting down a GOP congressman twice amid a heated floor debate on the two bills.
However, conservative unease about Boehner’s stance on immigration–he has long worked towards a deal on a bipartisan accord, including in a “principles” statement in early 2014 providing legalized status to millions of illegal aliens–remains.
The group of border victims is focusing in particular about how Boehner has not recently visited the border.
“We are very disappointed that he [Boehner] chose not to come out [to the U.S. border] on his vacation,” Espinosa said at her press event in McAllen. “Our families are here. We need some help.”