INS: Just following 'standard procedure'

Michelle Malkin

10/30/2002 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
Immigration and Naturalization Service officials told The Washington Times this week that the fatally flawed release of illegal alien sniper suspect Lee Malvo from federal custody in January 2002 "followed standard procedure." For once, these INS bureaucrats are telling you the truth. The INS -- along with the immigration court system, which is a separate fiefdom administered by the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Falls Church, Va. -- routinely ignores its laws, policies and front-line employees' best judgment on detaining and deporting immigration outlaws. -- In September, Maximiliano Silerio Esparza, an illegal alien from El Salvador, was indicted on charges of brutally raping two nuns who were praying on a walking path in Klamath Falls, Ore. -- and then strangling one of them to death with her own rosary beads. Esparza was detained twice earlier this year by the U.S. Border Patrol, but was released both times. According to The Oregonian, Esparza was let loose under INS's cost-saving catch-and-release policy. He previously served time in jail in California, had been arrested later in Portland on drug charges, and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest at the time of the alleged rapes and murder. Federal law mandates that immigration authorities detain criminal aliens with extensive rap sheets such as Esparza's until their deportation outside the U.S. But following INS "standard procedure," Esparza was set free in violation of the law. -- In March, a Los Angeles sheriff's deputy pulled over Armando Garcia for a routine traffic stop in a San Gabriel Valley suburb. Garcia walked toward the officer, pulled out a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, and fired at close range several times before fleeing. The deputy died of gunshot wounds to the head. Garcia was an illegal alien from Mexico who had been previously deported three times in 1992, 1994 and 2001 and convicted of two felonies while in America. Garcia had an extensive criminal history, from drug dealing and weapons violations to suspected murder. Following "standard procedure," neither the INS nor the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles took any measures to keep Garcia off the streets and enforce a federal law requiring criminal prosecution for illegal re-entry into the United States. Garcia remains a fugitive. -- Edward Nathaniel Bell, a resident alien from Jamaica, shot and killed Sergeant Ricky Timbrook in Winchester, Va., in October 1999. Two years earlier, Bell was arrested and convicted for illegal possession of a concealed and loaded handgun. The arresting officer was Sgt. Timbrook. After the conviction, the INS started deportation proceedings, but Bell knew how to play the game. He posted $3,500 bail, was released, and then won numerous delays in his case. While free, Bell talked of shooting Timbrook and showed off a gun, according to acquaintances who testified at Bell's capital murder trial. After being charged with Sgt. Timbrook's murder, Bell actually had the gall to apply for American citizenship. Following "standard procedure," his long-delayed final hearing in Immigration Court had been scheduled just days after Timbrook's murder. -- In August, Miguel Angel Heredia Juarez, an illegal alien from Mexico, was convicted for viciously raping and beating a 19-year old North Bend, Wash., woman. Juarez was on probation at the time, after serving time in prison for threatening to kill someone. According to the Eastside Journal, Juarez had been previously convicted of four other felonies, including theft and assault, since illegally crossing the Mexican border five years ago. Criminal aliens are supposed to be taken immediately into INS custody after serving their sentences, but as the Justice Department's Inspector General reported earlier this month, the INS lets tens of thousands of them run loose. Following "standard procedure," INS's failure to track foreign-born inmates led to the release of 35,318 criminal aliens into the general population in 2000 -- roughly one-third of whom went on to commit serious crimes. -- Nicolas Solorio Vasquez, an illegal alien from Mexico, gunned down a Washington State police officer during a traffic stop in Pasco, Wash., in October 1999. Prior to the shooting, Vasquez had been deported three times by the INS. After each release, he re-entered the country illegally and headed back up to the Pacific Northwest to commit more crimes. On July 26, 1999, police booked Vasquez into a Franklin County jail for unlawful delivery of cocaine and heroin. The INS should have taken Vasquez into custody immediately upon his release, but failed to pick him up. The officer's widow in the Vasquez case, Billie Saunders, is doing what many more victims of lax immigration enforcement should do when Washington won't step up to the plate: She is suing the INS in federal court for failing to enforce the law. INS lawyers argued in court hearings on the Vasquez case this week that it is neither the government's responsibility nor duty to stop the release of illegal aliens who go on to terrorize and kill American citizens. You know: Standard procedure.