Patterico's Pontifications

6/3/2007

U.S. Grants Asylum to Gang Members — *Because* They Are Gang Members

Filed under: General,Immigration — Patterico @ 8:26 am

I thought it was bad enough that the government allows some illegal immigrants to stay in the country despite the fact that they are gang members.

I didn’t realize that the government allows some illegal immigrants to stay in the country because they are gang members.

In a story I couldn’t make up if I tried, the L.A. Times reports on Gerson Alvarado-Veliz, an illegal immigrant and gang member who was deported to Guatemala after serving a sentence in California for dealing crack cocaine. Alvarado-Veliz claims that he was targeted by death squads in Guatemala, who identified him as a gang member by his tattoos. The article reports that Alvarado-Veliz “knew he had to flee Guatemala or be killed. So he sneaked back into the United States.”

Why did he come here, rather than Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, or any number of other places? Because only the United States is crazy enough to grant asylum to somebody because they are a gang member:

Now the 23-year-old is sitting in an Arizona immigration detention facility after an arrest related to charges of marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license. He’s citing his past as a gang member as the reason he should be granted asylum and allowed to remain in the U.S.

. . . .

In 2005, a U.S. immigration judge found Alvarado-Veliz credible and granted him the right to stay in the U.S. legally.

The decision was later reversed by the Board of Immigration Appeals, and is now pending before the 9th Circuit along with several other similar cases.

It turns out that several gang members have used this absurd strategy before, with success:

[I]mmigration judges have in recent years begun granting some former gang members the right to stay.

In 2005, a former gangster from Guatemala, who sold drugs for Long Beach’s East Side Longo gang, was granted one of the two lesser forms of relief, withholding of removal.

Also in 2005, a gang member who at age 7 joined the notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang in El Salvador, also called MS-13, and was later convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in Los Angeles, won the right to stay in the U.S. when an immigration judge ruled that his former gang membership and tattoos would put him at risk of persecution if he were returned. That decision was reversed, so his case is also pending before the 9th Circuit court.

A former gangster from Honduras convicted of grand theft auto as a member of Los Angeles’ Down for Anything gang won the right to stay in the U.S. in 2005 because of his past gang affiliation. In 2002, a former member of MS-13 in Los Angeles who was born in El Salvador won asylum with the backing of then-mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa.

Meanwhile, we’re treated to a sob-story account of Alvarado-Veliz’s life:

Alvarado-Veliz’s life, as he describes it, has been full of bad breaks and bad choices.

. . . .

It’s not possible to verify parts of his story, but Alvarado-Veliz describes how — despite refraining from criminal or gang activity in Guatemala — the tattoos on his face, neck and arms and his California gang dress and mannerisms were enough for police to target him.

“It’s not possible to verify parts of his story” — but we’ll report them anyway, invoking the “Sob Story Exception” to the usual rules of journalism. You’d think that editors would be wary of relying on the Sob Story Exception so soon after the paper’s recent embarrassing experience with “rehabilitated” gang member Hector Marroquin. But you’d be wrong.

Incidentally, Alvarado-Veliz, who claimed to refrain from criminal activity in Guatemala, didn’t manage to do so here. He was convicted of disturbing the peace, petty theft, and driving on a suspended license after entering the United States illegally for the third time in 2003. That doesn’t stop the L.A. Times from ending the piece in this way (warning, have your hankies ready before you proceed):

In prison, he leads a daily Bible study and on Sundays translates the prison chaplain’s sermon for the mostly Spanish-speaking inmates. He faces another year before a court decision is likely. He believes the jail time and previous torture are punishment enough for his past. Jesus Christ, he said, taught forgiveness.

He says he hopes one day to be a youth minister targeting those involved in gangs and drugs in Los Angeles.

“My past is pretty messed up, but I think I can use it to the benefit of other people,” he said.

The piece is reminiscent of the plaintive end to the puff piece the paper did on Hector Marroquin, who was later reported to have continuing ties to the Mexican Mafia and suspicious connections to multiple homicides:

“If a good man can turn bad, how come a bad man can’t turn good?” Big Hector asked.

This puff piece has convinced me: Alvarado-Veliz must stay! Write your local Congressperson and demand that this country retain its illegal immigrant gang members!

The time to act is now.

34 Responses to “U.S. Grants Asylum to Gang Members — *Because* They Are Gang Members”

  1. I guess he’s the LAT’s new Hector Marroquin.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  2. “…and is now pending before the 9th Circuit along with several other similar cases.”

    Dear God. Let’s just offer them amnesty and full dental coverage now and get it over with.

    Dana (d64cb4)

  3. I swear to go the 9th better uphold the overturning…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  4. “disturbing the piece” heh.

    assistant devil's advocate (c4c127)

  5. I fixed that just as you were leaving your comment. Sigh.

    Patterico (eeb415)

  6. It would be a pretty good album title, though, don’t you think?

    Patterico (eeb415)

  7. I’m starting to see more clearly each day, that the way to get what you want out of this country is not through hard work and responsibility, but to take what you want and then have a nice drama filled story for bleeding hearts to swoon with forgiveness over.

    The lack of personal responsibility for one’s actions in these examples is disgusting.

    fngJD (49df46)

  8. But, but, but … if not for the Alvarado-Velizes how could Hollywood get its cocaine?

    nk (c66fe9)

  9. Seems like only yesterday that the former governor of California was arming and training people like Gerson Alvarado-Veliz and sending them off to fight Central American governments we didn’t like.

    Good times.

    alphie (015011)

  10. You mean like the old days, Alphie, when JFK sent all sorts of people into Cuba?

    DRJ (2d5e62)

  11. I didn’t like Noriega, Ortega, or the Grenada Marxists, either.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  12. Maybe so, Patricia, but it seems like sour grapes to complain about Reagan’s bully boys moving to California to expand gangs like MS-13 now.

    Our old government-toppler Osama’s actions should have cured the “arm everyone” crowd of the illusion that they are immune to their poor foreign policy decisions.

    alphie (015011)

  13. So what do you think we should do about it now, Alphie? Besides subsidizing Vaseline?

    nk (c66fe9)

  14. At the very least, nk, I’d hope the U.S. military considers the long-term consequences of doling out weapons to any group that claims to be against whoever it is we happened to be fighting (see:Sunni tribes of al Anbar, crazy but anti-Iranian mullah groups).

    A pipe dream, I know.

    alphie (015011)

  15. P.S. And I do not feel one bit guilty for anything my progenitors did to make America the greatest nation in the history of the world. This guilt for alleged past missteps is for queer boys trying to justify their twisted psyches by blaming their parents for bad toilet training.

    nk (c66fe9)

  16. Sorry, Alphie, we are a leopard talking to a tree. You get first pick.

    nk (c66fe9)

  17. nk,

    I realize the pro war crowd never apologizes for the carnage they cause.

    But cowboy up and stop whining about all the hispanic gang members running around SoCal, okay?

    They are the ones who helped Ronnie “make America great,” remember?

    You guys should be pinning medals on them and giving them a nice pension.

    alphie (015011)

  18. alpee

    I usually just ignore your nonsense, but please, what are you talking about?

    Please substantiate your claim that the founding of Pomona 12th Street, Black Angels, OVS, WSP, to name a few, have anything to do with Reagan.

    In what capacity do you claim ANY knowledge of gangs?

    Darleen (187edc)

  19. alphie, the gangs in LA now were in diapers when Reagan was funding the contras. Nice strawman.

    dubya (c16726)

  20. when Reagan was funding the contras

    Oops! Make that when Ollie was getting the mullahs to fund the contras! lol

    dubya (c16726)

  21. #7 –
    It’s called the “Duchy of Fenwick” response.

    Another Drew (886991)

  22. It seems like sour grapes to complain about Reagan’s bully boys moving to California to expand gangs like MS-13 now.

    Riiiight, but for ‘Reagan’s bully boys’, MS 13 would all be lawyers and doctors in suburbia. Another conspiracy! Is there any negative event in world history you do NOT blame the US for?

    Why don’t you and the Left give us a game plan to achieve your perfect world–and don’t say socialism, because that has already failed.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  23. I’d hope the U.S. military considers the long-term consequences of doling out weapons to any group that claims to be against whoever it is we happened to be fighting (see:Sunni tribes of al Anbar, crazy but anti-Iranian mullah groups).

    Alphie, I would hope the Democrat Congress considers the long-term consequences of funding the doling out of weapons to any group that claims to be against whoever it is we happen to be fighting.

    Get a grip, the military neither decides policy nor provide funding.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  24. Wow.

    “…the tattoos on his face, neck and arms and his California gang dress and mannerisms were enough for police to target him.”

    The police profiled just based on tattoos, dress, mannerisms, and (presumably) association with gang members? What sort of police department oppresses the innocent in such a way?

    Thanks for the link, Pat.

    –JRM

    JRM (355c21)

  25. Prosecutors love to threaten to send bangers back to Central America because the bangers know they’ll be killed by death squads.

    Prosecutors love to threaten them with what is basically the death penalty in order to force them to flip and fink on their gangster buddies.

    It’s a mean trick. We certainly wouldn’t let prosecutors threaten to kill American citizens to force them to confess to crimes and implicate accomplices.

    Granting asylum to gang members would put a stop to that, and force prosecutors to earn their convictions, instead of getting them by threatening to have the suspect killed.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  26. Daryl Herbert #26,

    Are you being ironic or merely insane?

    nk (c66fe9)

  27. nk, don’t be hasty…

    He could just as easily be being stupid…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  28. Daryl are you alpee’s evil twin brother or just his retarded cousin?

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  29. […] Comment on US Grants Asylum to Gang Members *Because* They Are …Daryl Herbert #26,. Are you being ironic or merely insane? […]

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  30. Here’s another gang sob story: DA files charges as adult rather than juvenile in a greater percentage against Hispanics than whites! Murder Charges Spread Wide

    Could it be because of who is committing these crimes–more Hispanics (and zero whites) were arrested for murder last year? DOJ Crime Stats

    Patricia (824fa1)

  31. […] Patterico notes a case where a gang member was granted asylum because he was gang member. Note that – “because”, not “in spite of”. In a story I couldn’t make up if I tried, the L.A. Times reports on Gerson Alvarado-Veliz, an illegal immigrant and gang member who was deported to Guatemala after serving a sentence in California for dealing crack cocaine. Alvarado-Veliz claims that he was targeted by death squads in Guatemala, who identified him as a gang member by his tattoos. The article reports that Alvarado-Veliz “knew he had to flee Guatemala or be killed. So he sneaked back into the United States.” […]

    Extrodinary - 3 Incredibly Stupid Things « Something should go here, maybe later. (35df7c)

  32. […] U.S. Grants Asylum to Gang Members — *Because* They Are Gang Members […]

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