Without a Wall, U.S. Border Remains Open Door to Illegal Alien Felons

Deporting convicted illegal alien criminals – and keeping them out of the United States for good – is tougher than it seems … and definitely harder than it should be. One important reason is that lawless “sanctuary” jurisdictions flout federal immigration laws and frequently release illegal alien felons (including murderers, rapists, and pedophiles) to prey on the general population rather than honor an ICE detainer. Another reason is a largely porous, almost 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico – much of which still either has no barriers whatsoever, or has woefully inadequate ones (although 158 miles of the Border Wall System have been completed under Trump). This allows illegal alien felons, even when they are eventually removed to their homelands, to sneak back into the United States, sometimes repeatedly.

Below are a few recent cases that illustrate this point and underscore the need for a wall/fence along the Southwestern border. All the examples are taken from FAIR’s online archive of the most egregious crimes committed by illegal aliens in the United States.

  • In March 2020, Jose Lopez-Gonzalez, a 35-year-old man from El Salvador, was arrested after police responded to a distress call and found him raping a half-naked, semi-conscious woman in an alley stairwell. The crime occurred in Montgomery County, Maryland, where Lopez-Gonzalez is believed to be associated with the brutal Central American MS-13 gang. He was previously deported on two occasions, but somehow managed to re-enter – twice.
  • On the night of March 15, Arturo Perez-Gallegos, an illegal alien from Mexico, struck and killed a pedestrian in the Houston, Texas, area, and then fled the scene. Perez-Gallegos also showed “several signs of intoxication” while driving with a child in his truck. The illegal alien had been deported in 2006. He subsequently re-entered, but managed to avoid another removal in 2016 due to immigration officers invoking “prosecutorial discretion” under lax Obama administration policies. He also received a quite lenient sentence of only six days in jail after breaking into the apartment of the mother of his child and punching her in the left eye.
  • An illegal alien from Mexico – Christopher Puente – allegedly sexually assaulted a three-year-old girl in the bathroom of a McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, in February. Puente, who has a long criminal history, was deported in 2014, but sneaked back into the U.S. five days later. In June 2019, ICE placed a detainer on Puente after he was arrested for theft. However, as a result of Chicago’s sanctuary policies, he was released back into the community. The Chicago Police Department and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have defended their decision to release Puente.
  • Jose Luis Torres Garcia, a Mexican national suspected of killing three men in California, was arrested in February with 15 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. Torres Garcia was apprehended in Wyoming for allegedly murdering Jaime Covarrubias Espindola, Jose Maria Aguilar-Espejel, and Rodrigo Aguilar-Espejel, all of whom were found at a cemetery in Perris, California, on February 17, 2020. He had been deported twice, but he did not let that stop him from returning illegally.

The above sample is by no means exhaustive. Unfortunately, there are many more similar cases showing a disturbing pattern. In each case above and this is the key point – a crime occurred that was completely preventable, had a border wall or fence been in place to prevent the perpetrator from illegally sneaking into our country. In some cases, misguided sanctuary policies (Puente) or Obama-era enforcement policies (Perez-Gallegos) laid the groundwork for crimes that tougher enforcement and border security could have likely prevented.

Of course, none of this is to stereotype all illegal aliens as criminals. Yet, some certainly are, and they take advantage of our porous borders as much as other illegal aliens. CBP statistics showing small numbers of criminal aliens apprehended by the Border Patrol do not reflect those who sneak through undetected. According to a recent FAIR study, illegal aliens are also three times as likely to be incarcerated than U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. (And the fact remains that illegal re-entry remains a federal felony, i.e. a crime.)

In order to be as effective as possible, enforcement and removals must be accompanied by securing our borders to ensure that they, and the Southwestern one in particular, do not become a revolving door for re-entering felons. A border wall/fence may not keep out every single criminal alien, but – when supplemented with technology and manned by sufficient personnel – it will undoubtedly deter many while serving as a valuable force multiplier for the Border Patrol. It will also certainly reduce the number of such preventable crimes as showcased above.

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