After being deported 15 times in as many years, a Mexican illegal immigrant in Southern California seriously injured a 6-year-old boy Saturday night in a hit-and-run crash while driving drunk.
Federal authorities told the San Diego Union-Tribune that they identified the Illegal alien as 38-year-old Mexican citizen Constantino Banda-Acosta, who was deported for the 15th time on Jan. 18.
“Banda-Acosta is accused of running a stop sign in the San Ysidro hit-and-run,” Fox News reported. “He was taken into custody, about a half hour after the crash occurred, along with another man who was also an illegal immigrant.” San Ysidro is a district in San Diego, California, north of the U.S.-Mexico border - an area where illegal aliens frequently cross the border.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for Federation for American Immigration Reform, says this accident illustrates once again how the Obama administration's open-border policy can put people in serious harm's way.
"People understood, at least up until January 20, that the United States wasn't taking its immigration laws very seriously," he explains. "[Our laws say that] somebody who's been deported and comes back into the United States illegally can be charged with a felony and could face prison time. And yet in most cases, ICE – at least under the previous administration – chose to just put the guy back on the other side of the border, knowing full well that he'll probably come back."
According to Mehlman, sometimes it's better to just lock up those who cross the border repeatedly.
"Incarcerating people does place a burden on taxpayers, but we have determined as a society that that's an appropriate punishment," he says. "It also sends a message [to] illegal aliens ... that if they come back to the United States illegally after having been deported and they get caught, they could be facing jail time."
And that, says Mehlman, is a huge disincentive for them to violate the law.
- Report by Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)
Unnecessary pain and suffering
Even though Banda-Acosta reportedly sustained no injuries, the young boy in the car he struck was put in critical condition.
“The injured boy, Lennox Lake, was coming home from Disneyland with his family on Saturday, and the group was about a block from their home when the collision happened,” Fox added. “When he was found in the wrecked vehicle, Lennox was unconscious, bleeding from several head wounds and not breathing.”
After sustaining a major head injury, the boy received two surgeries by Tuesday night, the San Diego paper announced, noting that his family is hoping for a complete recovery.
"Right now he has a lot of swelling and can’t open either of his eyes, so he’s scared about why he can’t see," Ben Lake, the boy’s father shared with FOX5. "I just really care about bringing him home and making sure he’s happy again."
Deportation number 16 and counting?
Immediately after United States Border Patrol agents discovered the family’s totaled Honda, they dispersed around the area to find the hit-and-run offender, and discovered him in no time.
“A few blocks away, shortly after midnight, agents found a damaged pickup that matched the description Ingrid Lake gave them,” the Union-Tribune reported. “Inside were two men, who were detained. Banda-Acosta was identified as the driver. He was booked into jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run with injury, drunken driving with injury and driving without a valid license. The Border Patrol took custody of Banda-Acosta’s passenger – also an unauthorized immigrant – agency officials said. Banda-Acosta is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday. He was being held on $100,000 bail.”
Besides being deported numerous times, Banda-Acosta tallied up an impressive rap-sheet of criminal activity going back more than a decade.
“His criminal history includes arrests stemming from domestic violence allegations against his wife of 18 years, Chula Vista police Capt. Fritz Reber said,” the San Diego daily divulged. “Chula Vista police arrested Banda-Acosta April 9, 2006 and Jan. 9 of this year.”
The repeat offender is Mexico-bound once again, and many are hoping that President Donald Trump’s tougher immigration policy and promised 2,000-mile continuous border wall will keep cases like this from happening in the near future.
“ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said the agency would again seek deportation for Banda-Acosta after any conviction and sentence is served in connection with the DUI and hit-and-run crash,” the local paper continued. “The agency confirmed that – given its longstanding relationship with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department – ICE is confident Banda-Acosta will be released to the agency once his criminal case is settled.”
The boy’s grandmother, Cheryl Lake, was amazed and appalled that the drunk driver was back in the country after being deported more than a dozen times.
"There are not enough words to describe the huge impact his actions have had,” she told the Union-Tribune, which noted that ICE agents acknowledged that 15 deportations is a considerable amount, which translates into an egregious immigration violation.
San Diego debates immigration policy
With California still up in the air as to whether it will soon be designated as the nation’s first “sanctuary state” to harbor illegal criminals, immigration is a hot-button issue in the Golden State, which shares approximately 150 miles of its southern border with Mexico.
One resident of Imperial Beach, California – Ernie Griffes – stands in support of Trump’s proposed immigration policies – maintaining that incidents such as this one present proof that his tough measures are in dire need – now.
"Why do we continue to accept these travesties day after day?" Griffes asked the San Diego paper via email. "Our state legislators encourage it with legislation.”
Another Southern California resident, Patti Brasga, agreed that illegal alien criminals cannot continue to be allowed to return to the U.S. and wreak havoc on society.
"We need vetting, rules, order, structure,” she told the daily. “At a minimum, criminals need to go."
Yet with a large Hispanic community, there are plenty of San Diego residents who are vocal in their opposition to Trump’s immigration policies – contending that cases such as Banda-Acosta’s are used by conservatives to shine all illegal aliens in a bad light.
"Drunk driving is a nationwide problem that has affected the lives of far too many," Alliance San Diego Executive Director Andrea Guerrero told the Union-Tribune via email. "Using the pain and suffering of victims and their families to vilify a single community is irresponsible and unhelpful. We all need to work together – immigrants and citizens alike – in an atmosphere of trust, in order to solve public safety issues."
Yet because incidents such as Banda-Acosta’s are by no means isolated events in America, Trump set up a program to provide financial assistance to legal residents who are victimized by criminal illegals.
“Because of the Banda-Acosta’s immigration history, the boy and his family will be eligible for help from the new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or VOICE, office created by President Donald Trump in an executive order,” the Union-Tribune informed. “The office aids victims of crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants. The office was announced at the end of April and plans to study statistics related to unauthorized immigrants and crime in addition to supporting victims.”
With augmented border patrol and tougher policies, the likelihood of Banda-Acosta ever stepping foot on American soil again is said to be slim.
“Upon being deported again, Banda-Acosta is significantly less likely to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally a 16th time,” WND reported.
Statistics already show that Trump’s immigration policy is much more effective in keeping illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. from Mexico.
“While President Trump has yet to build the border wall or hire more agents, the administration’s commitment to enforcing the law has changed the reality along the border,” WND’s Alicia Powe explained. “Illegal immigration across the southern border is down 76 percent since Trump has taken office.”
5/12/2017 - Mehlman's commented added.