Mother Tells Congress: Illegal Immigrant Killer Was Released on Bond That Was ‘Less Than it Cost to Bury My Daughter’

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Apr 19, 2016 12:00 PM
Mother Tells Congress: Illegal Immigrant Killer Was Released on Bond That Was ‘Less Than it Cost to Bury My Daughter’

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) opened a Tuesday hearing on Capitol Hill by exposing the Obama administration’s hypocritical and lawless immigration policy.

“Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime,” Gowdy began.

One of Tuesday’s witnesses was Ms. Michelle Root, the mother of Sarah Root, a 21-year-old woman who was struck and killed by a drunk driver whose blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit. He was an illegal immigrant.

“Sarah Root wanted to dedicate her life to solving crimes,” Gowdy noted, as Root had plans to get a masters in criminal investigation. Instead, she succumbed her life to someone who not only had no right being on the road, but had no right being in the country.

Root’s life could have been spared had the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency taken the illegal immigrant, Eswin Mejia, into custody. The agency denied the request, “so he walked right out of jail.”

Reflecting on this, Gowdy exploded.

“How in the hell” does someone who is here illegally and kills a 21-year-old girl have “no priority” with ICE? he asked.

“If killing a woman does not meet priorities, then perhaps your priorities are wrong.”

It was about this time that Gowdy exposed the Obama administration’s immigration hypocrisy.

This administration “loves to talk about families being separated,” Gowdy said – it’s a common mantra for immigration activists who denounce the idea of deportation.

President Obama’s solicitor general argued for non-enforcement of the law in front of the Supreme Court on Monday as the justices heard oral argument over the president’s executive action to allow 4 million illegals to remain in the country. The lawyer spoke about the damage of tearing apart families.

“If you want to see that damage, Mr. Solicitor General, I hope you’re watching this morning,” Gowdy said.

“ICE refused to get ahold” of her daughter's murderer, Root explained. “I don’t know why.”

“He is on the loose now, so our family does not have closure.”

Mejia, she said, was released after paying $5,000 to bond out, “less than it cost to bury my daughter.”

Obama’s policies have “rewarded the illegal” and “punished” innocent citizens, she continued, before noting she and her family are “not against immigration.” Sarah’s grandmother was an immigrant from Austria, she said, but the difference is that she came here legally.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) followed Gowdy's opening remarks, first extending her condolences to Ms. Root and her fellow witness Ms. Laura Wilkerson, whose son was also killed by an illegal immigrant, but quickly turned the conversation to the vitriol of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who infamously called illegal immigrants rapists and murderers. 

“We should not let the actions of some” define a whole community, Lofgren insisted. “The vast majority of immigrants are hardworking members of society.”

“I’m not saying ICE has never made a mistake,” but deportation is not the solution, she concluded.

Ms. Wilkerson, whose son's death is still very real, offered an emotional response to Lofgren’s comments.

“If they took your child, you would think of it very different,” Wilkerson said. “This happens every day, whether you know it or not.”

Wilkerson’s son Josh was a senior in high school when an illegal immigrant beat and strangled him to death. “He waited and watched him die,” Ms. Wilkerson recalled.

Wilkerson broke down in tears and frustration over Congress's inaction and pleaded with the legislators, “You’re elected by Americans, do something.”

The tragic deaths of Sarah Root and Josh Wilkerson and are not isolated incidents. Just this week in Houston, a pastor and his wife died in an accident caused by a street racer who was here illegally. Two years ago, Kate Steinle was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant living in the sanctuary city of San Francisco. That latter case resulted in lawmakers calling for Kate’s Law, which would place a minimum of five years sentencing for any illegals who have dared to return to the States after a former deportation.

“My daughter's life did not deserve to end this tragically,” Ms. Root said. “It’s devastating the laws we have weren’t carried out."

Root pushed for sensible immigration reform, including Kate’s Law, and urged ICE to be more vigilant about taking illegal immigrants into custody.

Ms. Root and her family were wearing t-shirts that included Sarah’s name as an acronym reading, “Strong, Adorable, Remarkable, Amazing, Heavenly.”

Sarah was Ms. Root’s only daughter.