The bromide of “America’s immigration system is broken” often rings hollow in its inherent vagueness, but the case of Jorge Avila is a vivid illustration of what President Trump warned is a system that puts America’s security last and takes advantage of the citizen.
In a puff piece by Denverite, Jorge Avila, a 31-year-old illegal alien from Mexico living in Park Hill, Colorado, is portrayed as “a religious man” who “who grew up in the city’s public school system after emigrating from Mexico in 2000,” who is seeking shelter in Park Hill United Methodist Church and Temple Micah to escape the persecution of ICE and immigration courts. The story depicts him as an all-American boy living on the run, with his children terrified of those ICE stormtroopers. In fact, you’d almost think he’s a legal immigrant.
Here’s the reality of why ICE is interested in him. “Mexican citizen Jorge Eduardo Araiza, 31, aka Jorge Araiza Ávila, a member of the Sureno 13 gang, is illegally present in the U.S. and considered a wanted fugitive by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” said Alethea Smock, spokeswoman for ICE’s Denver field office. “Araiza has multiple criminal convictions to include illegal weapons possession, illegal use of slugs, trespassing, among others, spanning several years.”
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2019 Drug Threat Assessment, Sureno 13 gang members “have ties with Mexican cartels and they work together to smuggle methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana.” Texas’ Department of Public safety rates the gang a top threat for “their relationship with cartels, propensity for violence, level of criminal activity, involvement in human smuggling, and recruitment of minors.”
Hence, these churches that are supposed to uphold biblical values are harboring foreign gang members. There is a growing problem of churches harboring criminal aliens under the guise of compassion. Last year, a Colorado Springs church harbored an illegal alien despite his prior conviction for DUI and arrests for reckless endangerment and domestic violence. A few months later, he was accused of killing a father of five when his truck swerved into the man’s motorcycle.
There’s also the public policy aspect of this case as well. One would think that at least an illegal alien who also has a criminal record and is a member of a dangerous gang would be removed immediately upon discovery by federal officials. Yet our broken system allows such people to litigate their cases for a decade, violate the terms of the process, and continue to remain here with impunity while having more children who will get to vote just like you and me, as a reward for their parents violating one law after another.
“Araiza illegally entered the U.S. sometime in 2000 and was initially encountered by officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in September 2011 and placed into immigration proceedings,” said Smock on the statement. “He failed to appear for his immigration court hearing in August 2012, and an immigration judge ordered him removed in absentia. He appealed the judge’s decision, and in January 2018, he was granted voluntary departure. Araiza failed to depart and filed a petition for review with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied in January 2020. After exhausting full legal process in his case, Araiza is subject to a final order of removal and must depart the country.”
Commonsense taxpayers might be wondering how we’ve gone from the courts saying for 130 years that there is no right to judicial review for remaining in the country against the national will to a point where illegal aliens have more appeals than you or I would get. Avila now has four young children who, under prevailing administrative procedures, are viewed as American citizens, even though Avila had been affirmatively ordered removed from the country.
In 1996, Bill Clinton signed a law designed to foreclose upon any avenue for litigation by blocking all access to administrative and federal judges for illegal aliens who can’t prove they’ve resided here for two consecutive years. However, the law has not been enforced, allowing millions of criminal aliens to remain here and then litigate their way out of deportation for years thereafter. President Trump is in the process of finally implementing it, but the lower courts are placing injunctions on a law that barred this very sort of judicial intervention in the first place.
This case, in particular, demonstrates a need for immigration reform in which at least those with criminal charges or convictions (in addition to being here illegally) are removed immediately without further review or appeals. Absent such a reform, the citizenry will retain no control over who gets to join the society, the very underpinnings of consent-based society established in the Declaration of Independence.
To put this in its numerical context, there are 3.2 million people who’ve already been targeted for removal, mainly those who’ve committed additional crimes, who remain at large in the country undetained. Of those, 2.1 million have final or pending final removal orders, and the rest are still litigating their way into various kinds of legal status. We know from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) that 83 percent of felons reoffend within nine years of being released. Which means our citizens are needlessly on the hook for recidivist crimes committed by millions of other countries’ criminals who should never have been here to begin with and have no right to judicial review.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.