JUNE 18, 2013
As preposterous as it may seem, illegal immigrants with drunk-driving, domestic violence, aggravated assault and child abuse convictions will qualify for amnesty under the immigration bill pending in the U.S. Senate unless an amendment introduced by a Texas lawmaker is adopted.
Incredibly, groups that would normally be vocal on these sorts of issues have remained silent. For instance, the nation’s largest organization working to stop drunk driving and support victims of the violent crime—Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)—refuses to criticize the proposed law even though it will essentially reward those convicted of driving dunk. Through a spokeswoman, MADD said it “doesn’t get involved in immigration matters.”
Under the current legislation, crafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight in the senate, illegal aliens convicted of the crimes mentioned above are eligible for probationary legal status, officially known as Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI). This means they can qualify for a Social Security number and state driver’s license as they embark on a 10-year path to permanent residency. Three years later, candidates become eligible for American citizenship.
Here is a gut-wrenching example of who could benefit from this; an illegal immigrant who killed a 28-year-old father and seriously injured his two young children over the weekend while driving drunk on a New Jersey highway. The illegal alien, Manuel Gutierrez Vazquez, did not have a valid driver’s license yet had been arrested a few weeks earlier for driving drunk in another state, according to a local news report.
Though the outcome of the first DUI arrest is not clear, it’s not unreasonable to assume it wasn’t a felony because the illegal alien was released and he kept driving. Even if he was charged with misdemeanor DUI after the arrest weeks earlier, Vazquez would have been eligible for amnesty under the measure pending before Congress because it allows up to two misdemeanor convictions. Drunk-driving statutes vary by state and are often handled as misdemeanors settled with fines and community service when there are no serious injuries.
In many cases, as in this one, drunk drivers become repeat offenders. This week prosecutors in New Jersey’s Mercer County charged Vazquez with multiple felonies, including death by auto and causing serious injury while unlicensed. Convictions for those DUI felonies would forbid the illegal alien from receiving amnesty but it shouldn’t take the atrocious murder of an innocent person and serious injuries of his kids to exclude a candidate.
An amendment recently introduced by Texas Senator John Cornyn would change this. It aims to prohibit illegal aliens convicted of “serious misdemeanors,” such as domestic violence, aggravated assault, child abuse, violation of a protection order, and drunk driving from receiving RPI status under the immigration reform bill, which is being heavily promoted by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the Gang of Eight’s self-appointed captain.
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