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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    For Huntsville couple still grieving son's loss, illegal imm

    For Huntsville couple still grieving son's loss, illegal immigration debate is deeply personal
    Published: Monday, August 15, 2011, 10:32 AM
    Updated: Monday, August 15, 2011, 2:13 PM
    By Steve Doyle, The Huntsville Times

    Dan Mattle and his wife, Terri, don't consider themselves especially political.

    But when critics hammered Alabama's new immigration act as mean-spirited and racist, the south Huntsville couple decided to speak up in support of the Republican-sponsored bill.

    In late June, Dan Mattle made his first appearance on talk radio and wrote his first letter to the editor.

    GOP legislators are "making up for the fact that the federal government is derelict in its (immigration enforcement) duty," he said this month. "None of these laws would have passed if they'd been doing their job."

    Immigration became a deeply personal issue for the Mattles just before 9 p.m. on April 17, 2009.

    Their oldest son, Tad, was stopped in traffic at the busy intersection of Whitesburg Drive and Airport Road when Felix Dominguez Ortega, an undocumented resident fleeing from Huntsville police, slammed into the back of Tad's Toyota Supra.

    Police estimated Ortega's pickup truck was traveling nearly 70 miles an hour; no skid marks were found.

    Tad, a 19-year-old Eagle Scout who had just earned a full academic scholarship to the University of Alabama in Huntsville, died in the fiery crash along with his girlfriend, Grissom High School sophomore Leigh Anna Jimmerson.

    Ortega, with a blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit, survived.

    "Everyone calls it an accident," Mattle said. "But that was no accident - it was a murder scene."

    A native of Mexico, Ortega eventually pleaded guilty to reckless murder and is serving a 15-year sentence at Bibb County Correctional Facility.

    Municipal court records show that Ortega had three prior drunk-driving arrests in Huntsville under another name, Juan Sanchez. Police say he also used the aliases Adan Herrera and Reynaldo Martinez.

    Mattle, 46, said he hopes Alabama's immigration law will deter criminals like Ortega from sneaking across the border.

    "We've got enough criminals of our own that are legal citizens," he said. "We don't need to let a bunch more in."

    "There's probably some fairly decent people coming across, but there's a significant number of bad people, too."

    An aerospace engineer and Boy Scout leader, Mattle said he would welcome back any immigrant who returns home and applies for a U.S. visa.

    "If they want to go back and file the papers and make all the sacrifices that millions of others have made, that's fine," he said.

    Nation's strictest

    Co-sponsored by state Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, and state Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, Alabama's new immigration law is considered the strictest in the nation.

    It allows local police to detain people suspected of being in the United States illegally, requires public schools to inquire into immigration status of students, makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work, and also makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.

    Opponents challenging the law in court argue that it oversteps federal authority and violates the U.S. Constitution.

    Plaintiffs include the U.S. Department of Justice, Mexico and 15 Latin American countries, the American Civil Liberties Union, National Immigration Law Center, bishops from the Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Methodist churches - and Huntsville resident Ellin Jimmerson, the mother of Leigh Anna Jimmerson.

    A minister to the community from Weatherly Heights Baptist Church, Jimmerson is a longtime advocate for illegal immigrants.

    She is in the final stages of editing a documentary film, "The Second Cooler/La segunda nevera," that explores the reasons behind the surge of migrants into the United States. The title refers to a second body cooler that the Tucson, Ariz., morgue had to install because so many immigrants die attempting to cross the desert.

    Jimmerson, who argues in court filings that Alabama's immigration law could criminalize aspects of her ministry, declined to be interviewed for this story.

    Mattle, who attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Byrd Spring Road, said he wanted to "lay low" during the immigration debate but had to respond to those who say the new law goes against religious teachings.

    "I consider it unchristian to allow illegals to come into the country to kill and maim," he said. "Where's those leaders' compassion for what we've gone through?"

    'I just knew'

    Tad had things planned out.

    His 32 ACT score had earned him a four-year scholarship to UAH, where he would major in mechanical engineering. Afterward, he would open his own auto body repair shop, maybe go on a Mormon mission to Germany.

    He and Leigh Anna seemed destined to marry.

    "They were starting to make plans," Dan Mattle said.

    Tad and Leigh Anna spent the evening of the crash helping Mattle celebrate his 44th birthday at a church social. Before driving away, Tad gave his father a card.

    He signed it, "Thanks for putting up with all the shenanigans."

    Later that night, the Mattles heard a knock at the front door. Terri figured Tad had forgotten his house key. Instead, it was two Huntsville police officers.

    "They didn't have to say anything," Terri said. "I just knew."

    After the funeral, Mattle dealt with his grief by restoring a 1985 Toyota Supra that Tad bought just before his death. He finally got it running in October.

    "Part of my therapy was rebuilding that car," Mattle said. "I knew how excited he was about that car, and I just kind of took over where Tad left off."

    Ortega pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless murder on Aug. 30, 2010. Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis O'Dell sentenced him to 15 years for each count, but under Alabama law consecutive sentences - one after the another - cannot be applied to traffic death cases.

    Ortega will be eligible for parole in 2024.

    Although they did not oppose the plea deal, the Mattles say a life sentence would have been more appropriate.

    "People see (Ortega) every day," Terri Mattle said. "The only way we can see Tad is at Maple Hill Cemetery."

    "I wake up sometimes and think, 'Oh, he's coming home.' But he's not coming home," she said, "and it hurts."

    The Mattles recently got some much-needed good news: son Andrew, 20, was awarded the same Presidential Full Scholarship to UAH that Tad had won.

    Daughter Deanta, 15, just started her sophomore year at Grissom.

    'Good starting place'

    State Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, said critics of the immigration law have "misinterpreted" its intent.

    A former state trooper, Ball sees the bill as a lifeline for Alabama's working poor. Legal residents who aspire to jobs as brick masons and roofers can't get a foot in the door because those fields are increasingly dominated by illegal immigrants, he said.

    Ball operated a roofing company for several years but said he could not compete price-wise with contractors that avoid payroll taxes and insurance by using illegal workers.

    "I understand the compassion for the immigrants, but what about our working poor that's here?" he said Friday.

    While Ball said he expects parts of the bill will have to be rewritten, he is hopeful that it will survive the legal challenges.

    "This was not a magic wand that solves everything," he said, "but it's a good starting place."

    (Pics at link)

    http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/08/for ... ll_gr.html
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kiara's Avatar
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    There are thousands of citizens who have lost their lives simply because our laws are not enforced. If one of the illegal sympathizers lost a family member because of an illegal, they would see things differently.

  3. #3
    Senior Member forest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiara
    There are thousands of citizens who have lost their lives simply because our laws are not enforced. If one of the illegal sympathizers lost a family member because of an illegal, they would see things differently.

    You are right Kiara... unfortunately it often takes a tragedy in our own lives to wake us up.

    By the way, how are you doing?
    As Aristotle said, ‚ÄúTolerance and apathy are the first virtue of a dying civilization.‚Ä

  4. #4
    Senior Member nomas's Avatar
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    Municipal court records show that Ortega had three prior drunk-driving arrests in Huntsville under another name, Juan Sanchez. Police say he also used the aliases Adan Herrera and Reynaldo Martinez.
    And the OBL'ers call them "undocumented"! Looks like this guy had way too many documents. My heart goes out to his parents, and hers although the mother still supports open borders. Not a snowball's chance in hell I could forgive and forget, especially when this guy should have been booted out a long long time ago!

  5. #5
    Senior Member SicNTiredInSoCal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomas
    Municipal court records show that Ortega had three prior drunk-driving arrests in Huntsville under another name, Juan Sanchez. Police say he also used the aliases Adan Herrera and Reynaldo Martinez.
    And the OBL'ers call them "undocumented"! Looks like this guy had way too many documents. My heart goes out to his parents, and hers although the mother still supports open borders. Not a snowball's chance in hell I could forgive and forget, especially when this guy should have been booted out a long long time ago!
    Yeah, my heart goes out to them too, however Jimmerson seems to have some sort of mental block or maybe a personality disorder. Some Christians make me ill with their lack of ability in getting angry and the milk toast "forgive them all" attitude. Too much flouride in the water maybe?
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  6. #6
    Super Moderator GaiaGoddess's Avatar
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    Move to NEW Section for "Americans Killed by Illegals."

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