Wilcox: The Cost of an America with No Borders Is American Lives

In this March 30, 2012 photo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a suspect into custody as part of a nationwide immigration sweep in Chula Vista, Calif. Federal officials say they arrested more than 3,100 immigrants convicted of serious crimes and fugitives in a six-day nationwide sweep. Officials at …
AP File Photo/Gregory Bull

The events of the past year have been so calamitous, it can be difficult to get the full scope of our national dysfunction. We as a nation seem to go from one crisis to another, with no time or attention to address deep problems ravaging our communities. Nowhere is this clearer than in our current leadership’s abandonment of immigration law enforcement.

There has certainly been ample news coverage of our border crisis, and for good reason. It is hard to ignore the images of thousands of foreign nationals demanding entry at our southern border, and the stockpiling of people in overcrowded detention centers. Far less attention has been given to those killed as a result of criminal illegal aliens in our country.

Simply put, innocent Americans are losing their lives because of reckless, irresponsible immigration policies, and it is completely preventable. Our leaders won’t address it, and our corporate media refuses to inform the public about it.

Just because a problem isn’t being discussed, doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist. This problem is with us, and is likely to get worse before it gets better.

My organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), exposed a recent example of this problem. We investigated the case of Orlando Gonzales-Beato, a 42-year-old illegal alien from the Dominican Republic, who has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) manslaughter after a fatal, wrong-way car crash. Beato was allegedly driving an SUV northbound in a southbound lane on I-295 in the Jacksonville, Florida area around 3:30 am on Friday, November 26 when he struck another vehicle head-on, killing the other driver.

The victim, 26-year-old Corbin Wagner of St. Augustine, Florida, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Beato was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for internal bleeding and reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of .270, three times the legal limit. The victim’s brother told local media that Wagner was on his way to work when he was fatally struck by the oncoming vehicle.

First responders reportedly informed law enforcement that the foreign national appeared impaired as he was being transported to the hospital, including the smell of alcohol on his breath, slurred speech, and bloodshot eyes. When troopers arrested Beato, he possessed no American driver’s license and had no address. He is currently being held on a $125,000 bond and an immigration hold has been placed on him.

Lost in the grief of this incident is the fact that if the immigration laws of this country were properly enforced, Corbin Wagner would be alive today. He is not, and it is the direct result of politicians and their supporters who advocate against the deportation of foreign nationals here illegally. At what point do we as a nation say we have lost enough of our sons and daughters to these preventable tragedies?

There are some places where the law is actually being enforced, and the result is safer communities. In Frederick, Md., an illegal alien was arrested in connection with an assault and home invasion. The man was transferred to the custody of ICE after the agency requested a detainer, part of the 287(g) cooperation agreements that exist between ICE and sheriff’s departments throughout the country. Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins gave a textbook assessment of why immigration programs like 287(g) are essential.

“This is a prime example of a situation where a non-citizen alien in the United States illegally, is charged with serious crimes of violence and is released on their personal recognizance without any bond or assurance to appear for trial,” said Chuck Jenkins. “Without the 287(g) program in the detention center and the subsequent ICE detainer placed on the defendant, he would be simply released back into the community. This is the real public safety value of the program, keeping the community safe from violent non-citizen offenders.”

Despite the logic of a program like 287(g), it is under attack by anti-borders activists, media and politicians. That would include Joe Biden, who has also abolished 90 percent of ICE’s deportations. When our elected leaders intentionally expose the citizenry to life-threatening danger, they are in violation of the oath they took to defend our Constitution, and by extension our people. That, by definition, makes them unfit for office.

One of the most tiresome catch phrases of those who seek a borderless America is that “illegal immigration is a victimless crime.” It is not. Those who argue that point dishonor the families and the memory of Corbin Wagner and so many others like him who met a similar fate. Our leaders need to stand up for them instead of the noncitizens who took their lives.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

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