All the tools in the toolbox, at the appropriate time

There are some people who just make you sick when they get to walk out the door back into the lives of the people they’re destroying with their violence.

Sometimes, there is an opportunity, when a person is arrested for a violent crime, to hold that person longer and even maybe have them deported from our country if that person is an illegal immigrant.

Let me state here and now, before I begin this post in earnest:  I believe we need to seriously reform immigration and I am not a proponent of “throw them all out.”  But when you have a violent criminal on your hands and the opportunity to remove them from your community in a more permanent fashion by utilizing the immigration laws, would you?

Sheriff Laurie says no and stands behind the County policy to refuse all access to ICE unless narrow criteria are met.  This has finally backfired in her face.  Three children are virtually orphaned because their father, Mario Chavez, stabbed his estranged wife, Martha Casillas, to death a room away as they watched cartoons. This was after posting $8000 bail for threatening to kill his 6 year old child with a knife during a domestic dispute and walking out of Santa Clara County Jails with the blessing of a Sheriff who has sworn to protect her communities to the best of her abilities. 

There are no guarantees things would have turned out differently.  Perhaps ICE would have made the determination to release Chavez back into the community, perhaps any number of things could have happened.  But there was an opportunity to to protect a woman and her children, to take that one extra step, and Sheriff Laurie has adamantly persisted in not allowing that step to be taken, even in the face of releasing violence back onto our streets.

I get the Sheriff doesn’t feel that ICE should be contacted for every potential illegal immigrant.  I agree.  But my agreement ends when she believes that it’s an offense to the county, and the immigrant community in particular, to call ICE and detain a violent criminal.  To me that implies that the immigrant community, legal or otherwise, is fine with this man walking out and slaughtering his wife; an act which could have possibly be prevented if ICE was called, simply because of his heritage.  I can’t find the room in my heart or mind to believe this is what the immigrant communities are fighting for right now. 

How many other violent felons could have been deported from our country but instead were allowed to walk out the door and commit further crimes because of this sheriff’s policy to never call ICE?  We may never know.  Is the is the price worth the risk to our communities?  How are we every going to minimize gang violence if we have a Top Cop that is more concerned about hurt feelings of gang members, murderers and other violent criminals than the safety of the community?

Sheriff, please don’t call ICE when the person was arrested for a minor offense.  I agree with that policy.  I agree that we don’t need to punish everyone for minor mistakes and the inability of our government to get it’s act together and fix our immigration problems.  I don’t agree with your policy to knowingly let violent criminals — criminals who threaten their own small children’s lives no less — walk out the door when there is a tool in the toolbox that can absolutely be used at the appropriate time and with proper discretion to potentially prevent that action.

Who’s going to take care of these three kids, Sheriff Laurie?  Certainly not you.  How many children have to suffer, how many people have to die before you decide to do the right thing — the job you were hired to get done?

Mr. Chavez is in jail, reportedly with a no-bail hold this time.  I’m sure that matters little to the family, sheriff, while you carefully sidetrack the conversation in the media to a new law currently pending even while you blatantly ignore current law.

Those of you interested in making donations to the family and children left behind, you can do so by sending a check to:

San Jose Police Officers’ Association
1151 North Fourth Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Or donate online here

Sheriff, why donate a few dollars of your hardly earned $250K a year to a good cause.


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