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Thread: He never thought ICE would come for him. Sixteen years and four DUIs later, they did

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    He never thought ICE would come for him. Sixteen years and four DUIs later, they did

    by Anna Giaritelli
    | February 05, 2020 02:13 PM

    SANTA ANA, California — Emanuel was in disbelief when he saw federal immigration officers show up to his workplace. He never thought they would come for him.

    “I told this guy — 'What’s going on?' He told me nothing. He arrests me,” he says.

    Emanuel Mendoza-Morales, 42, was born and raised in Mexico, but for the past 17 years he has lived in the United States after illegally entering the country by way of the southern border in 2003. An hour before, officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations office had shown up to the mechanic shop where Mendoza-Morales was working and took him into custody.

    Mendoza-Morales is now sitting at ICE’s processing center in downtown Santa Ana. He consented to speak with the Washington Examiner about his experience. At first, he does not have much to say and shrugs off the questions. Then all of a sudden, he starts speaking in Spanish to a guard, telling the official how the officers who arrested him did not let him pack up and stow his tools before taking him away. He starts crying, blurting out “estupido” several times, the Spanish word for "stupid."

    “Five thousand dollars worth — I’ve been collecting tools maybe since I started working about 10 years. It wouldn’t have taken more than two minutes,” Mendoza-Morales says. There is panic and agitation in his voice. Tears are flowing down both cheeks now. Sitting on a steel bench in a room that has a dozen ICE and contractor officers in other parts of it, he says his boss would not have put his tools away and they will be stolen. He accuses his boss of selling him out to ICE when they called this morning and asked if he was in.

    Mendoza-Morales is not sure what the next step is now that he is in federal custody. In this moment, he is concerned about getting back the tools he uses to earn a living, but the next few hours will be even more upsetting than what happened to his tools. He will speak with an officer about those next steps after he is fingerprinted when we are done talking.

    He likely will be returned to Mexico before sundown but has not been told that yet. Unlike other immigrants who are in the country illegally as the result of overstaying a visa or those who crossed the border without getting caught, Mendoza-Morales was arrested at the border in 2003 and returned to Mexico. At some point between then and 2007, he was able to enter the country without being detected.

    Mendoza-Morales says he has been arrested twice for driving under the influence and once for a “license issue.” But ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Los Angeles Field Office Director David Marin, who is across the room, later says he has been convicted of DUI four times in the region between 2007 and 2019. A second ICE official confirms the four DUI convictions.

    “He probably thinks, ‘Oh, I’m free. Nobody’s going to find me,’” Marin says. ICE requested last July following the most recent DUI arrest that Santa Ana notify them before releasing him. The request was not approved. “It takes us six months to find him, but we do,” Marin says.

    Mendoza-Morales says he went to court to ask for his record last year because he wanted to see if he was in jeopardy of being picked up by ICE and deported due to his criminal record. “I asked this guy, ‘I’m OK with immigration?’” He says a public defender assured him that he was not in danger — part of the reason he is so stunned right now.

    Marin says the man will be given the chance to speak with the Mexican consulate, and if nothing comes of that, he will be on a bus to Mexico this afternoon. Because he was previously removed, ICE will simply reinstate that original removal order, which means a federal immigration judge does not hear the case.

    For Marin’s team of nearly 600 officers in the Los Angeles region, they can go home knowing a person who has a history of driving drunk will not be on the road in this community tonight.

    “I’ve had the attorney general of California tell me DUI is not a serious crime,” says Marin. “I beg to differ, and I’m sure there are a lot of victims out there who would tell you the same thing. DUI is a serious crime, so when we're out arresting people for their DUI convictions, it really is making a difference in public safety.”

    Mendoza-Morales says if he were to be sent back to Mexico, he does not think he will try to return to the U.S.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    "Marin says the man will be given the chance to speak with the Mexican consulate, and if nothing comes of that, he will be on a bus to Mexico this afternoon."

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

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