Add 67-year-old Vietnam veteran Samuel W. Jackson to the endless list of thousands of Americans killed by illegal alien drunk drivers who will never have their memories evoked in Congress.
According to Norristown, Pennsylvania, police, Jackson was exiting his car on Sunday night when a speeding car driven by Nemias Perez-Severiano, 31, plowed into him and dragged his body for 55 feet. The driver fled the scene, but police used camera footage of the car to apprehend Severiano. The suspect later admitted to being “a little drunk” after consuming seven or eight beers at the La Poblanita Mexican Bar a few blocks away.
Local media reported Severiano as a “Norristown man,” but according to an ICE spokeswoman, “ICE lodged an immigration detainer Nov. 12 with the Norristown Police Department on Nemia Perez-Severiano, an illegally present Mexican national, following his Nov. 10 arrest by local law enforcement.”
As far as I can see, not a single news story on this high-profile tragedy has mentioned the ICE detainer, even though the fact that Severiano was driving without a license was an obvious indication that he might be in the country illegally.
Jackson’s death gained prominence in the media when the family of this Marine veteran was looking for a uniform for his military funeral. Richard Dunn, a retired Marine from a nearby community, donated his uniform for the burial, which will take place on Saturday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Jackson was killed Sunday night, just hours before Veterans Day and on the 244th anniversary of the Marine Corps.
It’s enormously tragic that American veterans who are sent overseas to fight for us are killed back at home by illegal aliens who should never be in this country. Drunk driving is pervasive and is one of the most underreported epidemics in this country. Thousands of these drunk-driving incidents that result in serious damage, injury, or death are completely avoidable. This is especially true given that drunk driving is a habitual crime. Given that most American drunk drivers are barely punished, they will likely be out on the streets in short order doing it again. But when it comes to illegal alien drunk drivers, of which there are many, the first time they are caught driving drunk should be the last day they are in this country.
According to Montgomery County court records, Severiano was arrested on May 26 for “public drunkenness and similar misconduct.” While “public drunkenness” is considered low-level and would not result in jail time for Americans, an illegal alien caught for any crime should immediately be turned over to ICE.
There is no record in this case of a prior ICE detainer request, so this case is not a sanctuary issue, but it does reveal a broader absurdity in criminal justice, namely that the citizenship of an offender is not automatically tracked. Law-abiding citizens are asked whether they are U.S. citizens on a daily basis during many interactions with private and public officials. Why is it not standard procedure to ask anyone who is arrested, “What is your country of citizenship?” That is more important than any other arrest information because that will determine whether the individual can be removed from the country, thereby avoiding unnecessary costs and possible future lives taken by more crime.
This point was tragically evident in Wayne County, New York, last week. On Sunday, the same day Jackson was killed by an illegal alien in Pennsylvania, Mark Knapp was killed when he was ejected from his tractor parked on the shoulder of Route 31 in Weedsport after Heriberto Perez-Velasquez, an illegal alien allegedly driving drunk, plowed into the back of the tractor. He was charged with DUI manslaughter, driving without a license, and fleeing from police.
Knapp’s death was 100 percent avoidable. Perez-Velasquez is an illegal alien from Guatemala. Just three weeks before, on the night of October 18, Wayne County police caught him parked in the middle of a road and found that he was drunk. When they attempted to handcuff him, he took off running. He was eventually caught and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated because he had a blood alcohol level of .22.
According to the Times of Wayne County, police actually contacted ICE after Perez-Velasquez couldn’t produce a driver’s license or any legal documentation. ICE requested that he be held and found he has previously been deported. But here’s the kicker: This is where jailbreak, aka weak-on-on-crime policies, merges with immigration law. It appears that the suspect was released without any bond because of the new law in New York abolishing bail for many criminal offenses. As I’ve reported extensively, even though the law doesn’t take effect until January, the state has gotten a head-start on abolishing bail. Thus, in the rush to comply with this insane law governing American criminals, somehow Perez-Velasquez wound up being released, and later went on to allegedly kill Mark Knapp.
Jailbreak and thwarting immigration law are a toxic mix of anarchy that leave American victims of crime with no recourse against totally avoidable deaths and sex offenses. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton expressed concern that Houston’s plan to abolish bail would lead to the reckless release of criminal aliens. The death of Mark Knapp in New York stands as a tragic testament to that premonition.
Sadly, there is utter silence from Congress on both the crime wave and illegal alien drunk drivers. How hard is it for them to run for office on the proposition that the first crime an illegal alien commits in this country should be the last? Some lives are just more equal than others to the politicians, and it’s not those of law-abiding Americans.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.