HOUSTON, Texas — Before Kate Steinle, there was Spencer Golvach, and after both of them, there have been too many more. One year ago this week, Spencer Golvach was randomly shot in the head while he was sitting in his truck waiting for the traffic light to change. He was randomly executed by an illegal alien who had previously been deported multiple times for committing crimes but was back in Texas engaging in a killing spree.
On the anniversary of his death his still grieving father told Breitbart Texas, “It is the oligarchs, plutocrats, and the donors, who put their own interest of cheap labor above the safety of citizens. Dan Golvach said these rich and influential individuals “are fully aware of the dangers we are being exposed to. They are more than happy to offer your child up as a sacrifice to their god of cheap labor,” he added. “If this isn’t treason, we should remove the word from the English language. They know it is. They don’t care. My son is dead because they wanted cheap labor.”
Golvach’s son was senselessly murdered by an illegal alien who had been deported a number of times after being convicted of committing crimes, including crimes of violence. As reported by Breitbart Texas last February, Mr. Golvach said, “My son is dead because the concept of borders is dead.” He said he wanted the “boomerang” of deportation and illegal reentry into the country to be stopped.
Golvach told the story last year, “My son, Spencer, pulled up to a stoplight … A Victor Manuel Reyes, an illegal alien, pulls up next to him, pulls his gun out, rolled his window down and blew my son’s brains out.”
Victor Manuel Reyes was a violent man who on the night of Golvach’s execution, killed two men as he drove through the streets of Harris County, Texas, including 28-year-old Juan Garcia. Then he shot at another couple before he was shot to death by a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.
Dan Golvach told Breitbart Texas then, and he says it is true now, “This has to do with foreign intruders into our country. We are not … filtering out … we simply do not know who is coming in.” He said there needs to be laws that deter illegal aliens from reentering the country once they have been deported after a criminal conviction.
In his exclusive video interview with Breitbart Texas, Golvach’s question to politicians who talk tough about illegal immigration is -“What filter do we have, what mechanism can we have to filter out the good from the bad, and how does that work with this ‘do drop-in, come one, come all, it does not matter who you are,’ border policy that we have?”
Golvach has been on a mission to tell politicians that their duty is to “protect American people first.” He added, “Spencer was part of the cost of not doing it. He said, “compassion is good, but safety comes first, and we are not safe.”
In March of 2015, legislators from the Texas State House of Representatives, took to their chairs and were quiet, taking the time to remember Spencer Golvach. Representatives Debbie Riddle (R-Houston) and Patricia Harless (R-Houston) filed a House Resolution honoring the man’s life.
In June 2015, Breitbart Texas was there when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the toughest and most comprehensive border security plan of any state in the United States of America. During the signing ceremony, the Governor noted that the Texas-Mexico border can be a gateway to crimes committed in other parts of the United States. The Governor told the crowd gathered that there are more than 20,000 dangerous gang members associated with cross-border traffic-related crime in Houston alone. More than 100,000 gang members operate across the state of Texas, Abbott said.
The legislative package provided historic levels of funding to secure the border, established a Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit, strengthened penalties for human traffickers, increased funding for the border protection unit, and provided for seeking reimbursement from the federal government for state funds spent on border issues. The bill earmarked over $800 million in appropriations.
In early August 2015, Texas sheriffs, the lieutenant governor, and experts in immigration related issues met at the State Capitol to discuss the federal government’s creation of a sanctuary state for criminal aliens through its Priority Enforcement Program (PEP).
Jackson County Sheriff Aj (Andy) Louderback, immediate past president of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, told Breitbart Texas at that time that the federal government’s PEP program “has created a sanctuary state for criminal aliens because it has gutted the immigration system.”
In October, Texas border sheriffs met once again and responded to a report that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was set to engage in the largest one-time early release of federal prisoners. 6,000 inmates, 2,000 of which were “foreign citizens” who officials claimed would “be quickly deported.” Louderback said he was “concerned that although the federal government claims they will be deported, as many as 2,000 illegal aliens could be released into our communities.”
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, the PEP program replaced a congressionally-mandated program that governed how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials dealt with criminal aliens. This program replaced the Secured Communities Program. The more aggressive 287(g) program was eliminated. The PEP policy was released by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in November 2014. In January 2015, the program went into effect and Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby exclusively reported leaked training documents detailing how the program would be implemented. Darby dubbed the program, “Catch and Release 2.0.”
Sheriff Louderback said that the PEP program forces Texas sheriffs to release illegal aliens out of county jails and into communities. He said the illegal aliens are able to stay in the country “under 14 categories in the ‘unless’ deportation exceptions within the PEP program.” As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, these exceptions allow criminal aliens to stay in the states where:
- The criminal conviction occurred a long time ago;
- There are “extenuating circumstances” involving the offense;
- There are “Humanitarian issues” such as age, health, pregnancy, having a young child or seriously sick relative in the states, or having “community ties;” or
- The person has family members living here.
These are just a few of the exceptions and the exceptions under the PEP program are not exhaustive. As a general rule, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers who are in control of the process, have the authority to decide who is, or is not, deported.
Border security and crimes committed in this country by illegal aliens has now become a hot-button issue. These issues have been a central piece of Republican presidential campaigns.
Dan Golvach has been in Washington, D.C., and on national and local television, and he was on stage with presidential candidate Donald Trump when he came to Beaumont, Texas. Golvach and other members of the The Remembrance Project met with Trump.
A year after Golvach’s son’s death, he told Breitbart Texas, “We have laws that are good laws that are designed to protect us but they are not being followed.” He urged, “We need to demand that our politicians enforce these laws. If they do not, we need to remember this at election time.” Speaking of his slain son he said, “I’m not asking for ‘Spencer’s Law,’ I’m looking for them to just enforce the laws that are there.” He said “his mantra” has become “Do not look at the rhetoric; Look at their voting records and their donors.”
Golvach was emphatic that “his list of “oligarchs, plutocrats, and donors, be named.” He said HEB’s Charles Butt, the late Bob Perry (Perry Homes), political “Kingmaker” and founder of Conservative Republicans of Texas’ Dr. Steve Hotze, insurance agency owner Norman Adams, and construction company owner Stan Marek, are all part of the problem. He charges that these individuals all lobbied for “sanctuary cities.” He also said they “use lobbying firms like Hillco Partners to control Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and state Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).”
Sheriff Louderback told Breitbart Texas that he has not changed his mind about the federal government’s Priority Enforcement Program. He said, “As it relates to criminal illegal aliens in the U.S. and in Texas, PEP has got to be one of the worst programs in the history of the country.” The Texas sheriff added, “It’s main problem is its release of tens of thousands who have been convicted of crimes but do not meet the narrow federal priority standards.”
This article has been updated.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and a prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2