LOS ANGELES – The killers cross the U.S.-Mexico border, assume new identities, get jobs, blend in among Spanish speakers and sometimes enjoy freedom for years.
But these fugitives from the law aren't border-jumpers heading south. As the recent arrest of one of Mexico's most notorious fugitives at a modest home outside Los Angeles showed, some criminals escape justice by heading north.
In the last 10 months, federal immigration officials have helped locate 13 Mexican murder suspects, along with hundreds of other criminals, hiding in plain sight in the Los Angeles area.
The vast Spanish speaking populations of LA provide an environment in which criminals can hide.
"There are large pockets in the L.A. area where you could live forever without having to speak English," said Jorge Field, who oversees the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's fugitive operations teams in Los Angeles. "As long as you're law-abiding in the United States, as long as you don't have any contact with police, you can fly under the radar for a long time because there is such a vast population in this area."
Of course, some of these fugitives violate laws and harm people while they are in the United States. They are criminals after all.
US law enforcement personnel put some effort into finding and deporting criminals back to Mexico. But the effectiveness of that effort is limited by rules in LA area police departments against treating illegal aliens different from citizens. While illegals operate large gangs in the United States and Mexican criiminals hide in the United States among Hispanic populations here lots of Mexicans and others commit crimes in the United States and then flee to Mexico secure in the knowledge that they'll be safe from extradition. Mexico won't deport criminals who face either the death penalty or sentences without eligibility for parole.
Mexican authorities will not return Raul Garcia-Gomez to the United States unless prosecutors agree to spare him from execution and life without parole, the Mexican consul in Denver said Monday.
The 20-year-old fugitive is accused of killing Detective Donald Young and wounding his partner, Detective John Bishop, as the two officers worked off-duty at a baptism party in Denver on May 8.
The irony here is that the worse the crime a Mexican commits in the United States the less likely he'll be deported from Mexico once he has fled there to escape prosecution.
On October 2, 2001, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled in a binding decision that no extradition would be granted unless the requesting state gives assurances that a term of years would be imposed and the suspect would be eligible for parole. In so ruling, the Court held that the purpose of punishment is rehabilitation. Life imprisonment is inconsistent with rehabilitation and, therefore, a sentence of life imprisonment violates their constitution because it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
In May of 2002, in a non-binding decision, a Mexican court ruled that assurances by a prosecutor have “no value because U.S. judges are autonomous, as their own embassy recognizes, so they would apply the punishments established by U.S. Penal Codes”. The Office of International Affairs has advised that they interpret these rulings as requiring that the assurances to be given by a judge. Such “judicial assurances” are a legal impossibility in the United States since a judge cannot rule on a case not before the court, and a judge may not prejudge the evidence.
In at least two recent cases, Mexican authorities have refused to deport or expel a US citizen without sufficient assurances.
The October 2, 2001 Mexican Supreme Court decision and its holdings were reaffirmed by the Mexican Supreme Court in April, 2004.
In California, officials estimate some 350 violent felons have fled south seeking protection of a Mexican Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty and life in prison without parole represent cruel and unusual punishment.
With Hispanics committing crime at a few times the rate of whites and with Hispanic incarceration rates 3.7 times the white rate the ability of Hispanics to escape justice by fleeing the United States reduces the deterrent value of the US criminal justice system. This leads to more crime and more victims.
Bob Baker, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League to which 9,000 LAPD cops belong, says Mexico entirely refuses to extradite its own citizens.
Having decided that no murderer should ever have to spend their life in prison, Mexico arrogantly refuses to return fugitive killers to the United States. It has consistently refused to extradite murderers if they faced the death penalty. A 2001 Mexican Supreme Court decision in essence halted all extraditions of Mexican citizens, or Americans of Mexican descent. That decision forbade Mexico to extradite anyone if he faced a sentence which carried the possibility of life imprisonment, saying it was "cruel and unusual punishment."
In short, the thoroughly corrupt Mexican judicial system has decided the U.S. cannot prosecute even U.S. citizens if they make it to Mexico. Since Oct. 2, 2001, Mexico has repeatedly refused to return suspects for prosecution. As of last year, the Justice Department had more than 800 open extradition cases for fugitives in Mexico. Those fugitives include cop killers. Armando Garcia, a Mexican national in California illegally, allegedly shot to death Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy David March during a traffic stop in 2002. He is known to be in Mexico.
The halt to extraditions is not absolutely complete. A rare few still get extradited. In June of 2005 Mexico extradited the first Mexican criminal extradited to Los Angeles County California in 4 years.
LOS ANGELES – District Attorney Steve Cooley announced today the return from Mexico of a fugitive suspected of trying to kill two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies last year following a routine traffic stop. It is the first extradition to Los Angeles County from Mexico since the October 2001 Mexican Supreme Court decision limiting extraditions.
The Mexican legal system is not compatible with the US legal system. We need a substantial barrier along the entire border with Mexico along with a much bigger Border Patrol force. Also, police should be authorized and encouraged to enforce immigration law and the US government should develop the capacity to accept and hold for deportation all illegals that local law enforcement officers take into custody.
Update: Also see my post "Heather Mac Donald On The Illegal Alien Crime Wave". Also, see a Steve Sailer post on just how cheaply illegal immigrants could be deported.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2005 August 08 10:30 AM Immigration Crime|