By Stephanie Bertorelli
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
“Bring Out Your Drunks! Bring Out Your Drunks!” The drivel that the Immigration and Customs Agency is spewing makes me hear something that sounds like a quote from a Monty Python movie in my head.
ICE officials have announced that the Obama Administration has in fact released thousands of illegal immigrants from jails across the country between February 9 and March 1 for “solely budgetary reasons”. John Morton, ICE Director, explained that the kinds of detainees that were released included prisoners held on theft, financial and drunk driving (some including multiple DUI) charges.
Are you kidding me?!
To understand my complete outrage, I will need to briefly share Min’s story.
In November of 2005, Min Soon Chang was a freshman at college. He went out one night to see a midnight premiere of a Harry Potter movie. Unfortunately, the movie was sold out and while Min was traveling back to his dorm, his car was slammed into by Jorge Humberto Hernandez Soto and Min was killed instantly.
Jorge Humberto Hernandez Soto was driving at over 100 miles per hour the WRONG WAY on an interstate in Charlotte, NC that night. Minutes before he MURDERED Min, my car was narrowly missed by his vehicle barreling down the highway.
Barely injured in the crash, Jorge Humberto Hernandez Soto was charged with second degree murder. Upon his arrest, a frightening history was revealed. This man was here illegally, yes, but that was not all. Not only was he driving drunk while here illegally, he was doing so after having been charged for doing so twice already in Tennessee and Colorado. As if that were not enough, it was also shown that Jorge Humberto Hernandez Soto had been deported from the United States seventeen times.
No, that is not a typo. This man, who murdered Min Soon Chang and almost murdered my child, was stable enough, according to government officials, SEVENTEEN times to be returned to his country. These are exactly the type of prisoners that have been released back into the free world because ‘the budget couldn’t handle it.
Did ICE do thorough background checks on these prisoners before their release to see if there were extenuating circumstances that should be factored into preventing their release? John Morton stressed that the releases were made on a case-by-case basis and not “willy-nilly’. I don’t see how that is possible considering that ten Level-1 inmates, the most serious classification for prisoners, were released and four of those ten have already been taken back into custody.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama Administration have used the release of these prisoners for political benefit. First, to scare Americans with the idea that prisoners must be released because of mandatory budget cuts and then again after, when they attempted to cover themselves by saying that the number released was in the hundreds not the thousands.
“Several hundred are related to sequester, but it wasn’t thousands,” said DHS Head Janet Napolitano on March 4. Yet on March 5, the House Judiciary Committee released to the public an internal ICE document that it said described the agency’s plans to release thousands of illegal immigrants before March 31.
Now the real numbers have been made available and over 2,000 Jorge Humberto Hernandez Soto’s have been released into society. How many of these released prisoners come with a story like his? Does the government really just hope that they have changed and none of them will revert to their past ways?
Surely none of those released DUI prisoners will ever drink and drive again.
I hope against hope that those released drunk drivers (and other criminals) don’t turn the dull chant in my head into “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!”
Image: source: Destitute; author:Barry from London; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
Stephanie Bertorelli is a publicist and author living in Charlotte, NC. She’s the mother of two girls that she’s raised to say thank you to all officers and soldiers they meet and who also know that they better get the tissues ready for mom when the National Anthem plays. With a passion for sparkly shoes and vintage green dresses, she spends her free time (what free time?) writing, perfecting new recipes and trying out new wines.