Arizona’s newly passed immigration law took heat from President Obama in late April at a campaign-style event in Iowa when he said, “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to get harassed.”
Either Mr. Obama completely misunderstood the Arizona immigration law that goes into effect in mid-August, or he was blatantly misleading the American public on what the law really entails. Unless an person is violating a law, his or her legal status will not be questioned.
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s ice cream shop example falls even flatter, because if Colorado had had a law in place similar to Arizona’s, a 3-year-old boy and two women killed at an ice cream shop in 2008 might be alive today (h/t Connie Hair at Human Events).
Francis Hernandez, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, rammed his Chevy Suburban into a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop killing the three. Hernandez was sentenced to 60 years in prison following his conviction in February.
Colorado passed an “anti-sanctuary” bill in 2006 that requires cities and counties to report suspected illegal immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, except in cases of minor crimes. According to reports, Hernandez had a rap sheet dating back to 2003 (with no felonies), but immigration officials claim he never was referred to them.
CBS reported that Hernandez’s prior arrests were by nine different police departments, and some of the arrests were for criminal impersonation and forgery. The majority, though, were for traffic violations, including driving without a license and without insurance. The Rocky Mountain News reported in January of last year:
“When Hernandez was arrested after the wreck, he had a lengthy rap sheet in Colorado, including 29 warrants for failure to appear at court hearings. Almost incredibly — as was widely reported at the time — he has apparently never had a Colorado driver’s license, either.
Hernandez told Aurora police he was born in California. When media reports questioned whether he was here legally, Aurora police sent a query on his citizenship status to ICE. The agency’s initial response? Because Hernandez said he was a U.S. citizen, the agency refused to search its databases.
Yes, ICE took Hernandez’s word.
Eventually, an ICE investigator questioned Hernandez and learned he was an illegal immigrant born in Guatemala.”
In fact, Hernandez managed to evade deportation despite a dozen arrests in Colorado (five of them after Colorado’s anti-sanctuary bill was passed). Authorities said he used 12 aliases and two dates of birth to hide from immigration officials. As long as Hernandez did not commit a felony, he was able to avoid immigration authorities.
A recent Rasmussen poll showed that 55 percent of Colorado voters favor an immigration law similar to that of Arizona’s. Nationally, 59 percent favor the Arizona law, but the fact remains, an illegal immigrant who became known as the “ice cream killer” flew beneath immigration authorities’ radar for way too long, while our president spends too much time worrying about the wrong people at ice cream shops.