Still driving the bus

Mike Gallagher
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Posted: Sep 29, 2006 12:03 AM
Still driving the bus

Do you remember the illegal immigrant from Mexico who was driving a bus that burst into flames and killed 23 nursing home patients who were evacuating Hurricane Rita last year in Houston?

His name is Juan Robles Gutierrez and he is a Mexican national, one of the millions who have sneaked across our border and taken a job so that he can send his income back to Monterey, where his wife and daughter live. In his case, he waded across the Rio Grande and began working for Global Limo, the company that owned the bus that burst into flames on September 23, 2005, burning 23 passengers alive.

Robles was arrested after the Dallas County Sheriff said that the evidence collected indicated that the bus driver’s actions contributed to the 23 deaths.

Fast forward to today. I’d like to give you a pop quiz about Mr. Robles. If you answer correctly, you will get an A.

Since Robles was arrested, where is he today? Is he:

A) Sitting in jail;

B) Deported to Mexico;

C) Living freely as a resident of the United States and still driving a bus.

After 23 horrific deaths, there surely couldn’t be any way that “C” would be the correct answer, right? Well, welcome to 2006 America, where in the world of illegal immigration, right means wrong, up means down, and illegal means hero.

It turns out that the evidence collected by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department must not have been enough to hold Juan Robles Gutierrez responsible for the nursing home patients deaths. In fact, it is believed that a mechanical failure of the brakes led to the fire which ignited the bus.

But that wouldn’t exonerate Robles from his illegal actions that brought him to the United States and placed him behind the wheel of that bus, would it?

You bet your sweet green card it would. And did.

After he was cleared of the charges, he was ordered to stay in the Houston area in order to testify in the trial of the bus company owner. He didn’t really like that too much. He preferred to live in Laredo, Texas, where he could be closer to his wife and daughter who live in Monterey, Mexico. So he went to an immigration official and was allowed to move to Laredo.

Then, our brilliant “system” granted him a work visa. After all, his wife and daughter have bills to pay in Monterey!

After Robles got his wish to live in the American city he wanted, he began itching to drive a bus again. No problemo, amigo. A Texas-based bus company hired him and he now cheerfully makes the 8 hour drive between Laredo and Dallas on a daily basis behind the wheel of yet another bus.

Perhaps his passengers these days should be advised to carry a fire extinguisher with them.

What’s perhaps the most shocking aspect of this story is how little the news media has paid attention to it. This guy goes from being the illegal immigrant from Mexico who was arrested for the deaths of 23 elderly patients on his bus to just another working-class stiff, holding down a steady paying job, a job that many Americans would undoubtedly love to have.

There are so many outrages in this story, I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe we can start with his “request” to move to Laredo to be closer to his family in Mexico. If I were the immigration judge, I’d have the perfect solution. You want to be close to your family, Mr. Robles? Heck, how about your home in Monterey, Mexico? Close enough?

But while the American news media might not be paying attention to this story, I’ll bet the illegals are observing. After all, if a Mexican illegal can still keep residency in America and even have the same job he was doing when his bus burned up 23 people, how serious could the United States really be about stopping illegal immigration?

I hope you passed the quiz and received an “A.” When it comes to combating illegal immigration, the United States continues to get a well-deserved “F.”