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Wanting consequences for crime isn't xenophobia

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By Holly Audette
Columnist

Monday, December 4, 2017

Kate Steinle, by all accounts a vibrant, beloved daughter, sister and friend, lost her life by a gunshot to her back while walking with her father on a San Francisco pier on July 1, 2015.

The man who by his own admission fired the gun that killed Kate Steinle, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was in the United States illegally. He had been deported five times previously, been arrested numerous times and had been recently released from prison. The local sheriff in a “sanctuary city” had let him go, refusing federal immigration officials’ request he be detained.

Mr. Zarate will never be held responsible for causing Kate Steinle’s death because a San Fransisco jury declined to convict him.

After the verdict, defense attorneys took to the microphones to lecture Americans about their hateful attitudes toward immigrants and the value of the justice system. Kate’s father, who already has to forever endure the memory of his daughter’s last words, “Help me, Dad,” spoke poignantly about the results saying, “ Justice was rendered, but it was not served."

In addition to the arrogant posturing and politicizing of his client’s not guilty verdict, defense attorney Francisco Ugarte stated, "Today was a vindication for the rights of immigration. We have to reflect on how we talked about this case," adding that nothing about Zarate’s race and immigrant status had any relevance to the case.

Mr. Ugarte was right. About one thing. Zarate’s race had no relevance. But the claim his illegal status was not relevant is outrageous.

If Mr. Zurate had not illegally crossed into this country he would not have fired that bullet that caused Kate Steinle’s death.

How did we come to a place where the accepted premise is that breaking the law to come into this country has no relevance? How are you somehow a hateful person, a racist, a xenophobe, because you think there should be consequences for violating immigration laws? That is like claiming being opposed to the peer bullying of children means you are against children.

It is ridiculous fiction that you are anti anything other than anti assuming the prerogatives of citizenship without earning them, if you oppose illegal immigration. The false premises claiming anything else must be challenged.

The Heritage Foundation did just that earlier this year when it published an article titled, “What the Media Won’t Tell You About Illegal Immigration and Criminal Activity.” The article challenges the oft-repeated claim that immigrants commit crimes at a lesser percentage than the general population: “According to a recent Associated Press article, ‘multiple studies’ have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native-born U.S. citizens. But the issue isn’t non-citizens who are in this country legally ... the real issue is the crimes committed by illegal aliens. And in that context, the claim is quite misleading, because the ‘multiple studies’ on crimes committed by ‘immigrants’ — including a 2014 study by a professor from the University of Massachusetts, which is the only one cited in the article — combine the crime rates of both citizens and non-citizens, legal and illegal. ... Instead of using official crime data, it uses ‘self-reported’ criminal offending and country of birth information.... When it comes to self-reporting criminal activity, some respondents will, no doubt, exaggerate. Others will flat out lie. Furthermore, many respondents will likely not disclose if they are a non-citizen out of fear of discovery and deportation.”

The Government Accountability office issued a 2011 report on the issue of immigration. The report states that it “... looked at 251,000 criminal aliens in federal, state, and local prisons and jails. Those aliens were arrested nearly 1.7 million times for close to three million criminal offenses. Sixty-eight percent of those in federal prison and 66 percent of those in state prisons were from Mexico. Their offenses ranged from homicide and kidnapping to drugs, burglary, and larceny.”

Most illegals reside in border states and much data include all states — distorting the real risk to persons residing in the border states. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, “Over 238,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011, and November 30, 2017. During their criminal careers, these criminal aliens were charged with more than 632,000 criminal offenses. ... Of the total criminal aliens arrested in that timeframe, over 159,000 or 66 percent were identified by DHS [Department of Homeland Security] status as being in the U.S. illegally at the time of their last arrest.”

In North Carolina there are 394,000 illegals, 527,000 if you include children. We can do the math. No amount of labeling and bullying for political advantage changes this fact. If an illegal is not here they cannot commit a crime against any of us and our odds of security improve.

Holly Audette is a small-business owner active in political and civic causes.

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