Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member controlledImmigration's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Family's death puts new focus on those here illegally

    Aug. 21, 2007, 9:24PM
    Family's death puts new focus on those here illegally
    Suspect in fatal fiery wreck had been through the courts before


    Felinda Williams couldn't make herself go to court on a recent morning, couldn't bring herself to look at the man accused of driving drunk and killing her daughter, her son-in-law and her 2-year-old grandson.

    She knows few details of the Aug. 11 crash in Houston that killed the newlyweds and the little boy nicknamed "Peanut Butter." She does know that her daughter didn't die on impact. The young woman, according to reports, felt the flames and begged helpless bystanders to pull her free.

    The grieving woman knows two things about Juan Felix Salinas, the man charged in connection with their deaths: She knows his name, and she knows he was in the U.S. illegally, out on bail after an earlier arrest.

    "He's been through the courts and the jail before, and nobody caught it," Williams said. "If they'd caught it, he would have been in jail or deported, and then he wouldn't have been out there on the streets, and my babies would still be alive."

    The deaths of Tenisha and S.J. Williams and Xavier Brown have once again focused attention on a controversial topic for law enforcement in Harris County and across the country — how to deal with illegal immigrants accused of crimes.

    Police and sheriff's departments have struggled to balance outreach to victims and witnesses in immigrant communities with efforts to crack down on career criminals in the country illegally.

    Arrested in March
    In the past year, Harris County Sheriff's Office and Houston Police Department officials said they have increased their cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. But despite recent efforts, not all illegal immigrants who come into contact with law enforcement in Houston are referred to immigration authorities, which has frustrated some victims' advocates and proponents of stricter immigration controls.

    Salinas, 41, was arrested in Jacinto City after allegedly shaking his wife violently on March 31. He escaped the attention of immigration officials by posting a "non-arrest" bond at the Harris County Jail, which some victim advocates have called a loophole for illegal immigrants.

    Spurred by officer's death
    For years, HPD officials resisted pressure to ask suspects about their immigration status, arguing it would jeopardize their ability to get witnesses and victims in immigrant communities to come forward, for fear of deportation. The killing of HPD officer Rodney Johnson in September brought national attention to the policy, as details emerged about the suspected killer, Juan Quintero. The illegal immigrant, who is accused of shooting Johnson in the head during a traffic stop, was convicted of molesting a minor in 1998 and driving while intoxicated in 1995. He was deported in 1999.

    After Johnson's death, HPD started referring cases to ICE, said Victor Senties, an HPD spokesman. But not everyone identified at a jail as an illegal immigrant is referred to immigration officials, according to the HPD fact sheet on the new policy. Under the guidelines, only people who are arrested and found to have outstanding immigration warrants or are previously deported felons would be referred to ICE. Gabe Ortiz, an HPD spokesman, added that "ICE does have full access to the jail facilities."

    From Oct. 10, when the policy took effect, through July 31, HPD has referred 144 cases to ICE officials, according to HPD statistics.

    Cases referred to ICE
    Officials with the Harris County Sheriff's Office ask each inmate during the intake process about nationality and citizenship, said Sgt. D.M. Mackey.

    More than 4,606 inmates admitted to being illegal immigrants and had their cases referred to ICE from August 2006 through August 2007, Mackey said. In the previous 18 months, the sheriff's office had identified 1,940 illegal immigrants in the jail.

    Andy Kahan, director of the Mayor's Crime Victim's Office, questioned why local authorities don't refer all cases involving suspected illegal immigrants to ICE.

    "We can't expect ICE and federal officials to act if we don't give them all of the information to act on," he said. "If we don't give them the tools to make a decision, we reap what we sow."

    Distorted perception?
    Alison Parker, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, cautioned that the media attention surrounding high-profile crimes involving immigrants can sometimes distort public perception. Parker recently completed a study of immigrants convicted of crimes and deported under a 1996 immigration law.

    "There are a lot of stories in the media that leave the public with the impression that there are lots of undocumented immigrants committing lots of very serious violent crimes, and those things occur, certainly, but they are overly represented in the press, and the reality is that there are lots of undocumented in the United States who don't commit crimes," Parker said.

    Salinas, 41, from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, escaped the attention of immigration officials after being charged with assault and public intoxication in two separate incidents earlier this year.

    On March 31, Salinas' wife called 911 and reported that he shook her "violently" during an argument.

    He was charged in Harris County with family assault and paid a $1,500 "non-arrest" bond. They are issued only on cases in which a warrant has been issued and a bond has been set, a Houston bail bondsman said. Paying the "non-arrest" bond allows a suspect to avoid going to jail, but is typically reserved for minor offenses.

    'A sticky issue'
    Jacinto City Police Chief J.M. Ayala said his police department does not ask suspects about immigration status. "It's kind of a sticky issue," he said, and can lead to accusations of profiling.

    Immigration officials have placed a hold on Salinas, so he won't be released without notice. He now faces three counts of intoxicated manslaughter, in addition to the earlier assault and public intoxication charges.

    On Friday morning, Felinda Williams lit a candle in front of her daughter's high school portrait, where Tenisha smiled softly, her neck ringed with pearls. She was her only daughter, the middle child, 26 years old.

    Tenisha and S.J. had just married at a little chapel not far from Williams' house on Melbourne. They caught that 7-7-07 craze, she said, and it was special, because it was S.J.'s birthday.

    The baby, "Peanut Butter," would have turned 3 this past Monday. They were going to go to Sea World.

    "She had everything that she wanted," Williams said. "She had a good husband who she loved, and who loved her, and he loved the baby. Everything was going good. She was just at a high point. The lottery couldn't get no better."

    Williams said she's not yet ready to see Salinas.

    "Once the trial starts, every time they have him in there, I'll be there, too," she said. "This man turned my world upside down, inside out." ... 73457.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member realbsball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    LA War Zone, CA
    "There are a lot of stories in the media that leave the public with the impression that there are lots of undocumented immigrants committing lots of very serious violent crimes, and those things occur, certainly, but they are overly represented in the press, and the reality is that there are lots of undocumented in the United States who don't commit crimes," Parker said.

    Actually, Alison, illegal (not "undocumented") immigrants' committing very serious violent crimes has been UNDER reported in the mainstream media for far too long. Hopefully, America may be waking up to the horror.

  3. #3
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South West Florida (Behind friendly lines but still in Occupied Territory)


    These stories have to be heard no matter how bad they are.... these people are being decimated by people that do not care one way or another

    As far as they are concerned ... you are just in the way of what they want.

    They want what you have and it is you (The American citizen) who will endure many years of women and children being raped endure illegal immigrants driving drunk that hits mini vans filled with families, women, children, elderly....

    Job lost to legal citizens; wages depressed; drugs; MS -13 and other gangs

    I see no upside here other than big business money makers that want us to pay the price for them to make huge profits
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts