Last December, Border Patrol agent James Paul Epling spotted five people illegally crossing the U.S./Mexico border, near where the Colorado River separates Arizona and California. He chased them, on foot, for four miles.
Then Epling saw that one suspect, a Chinese woman, was drowning as she attempted to cross the river.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commission head Robert C. Bonner gave this description of what happened next
"`…Mr. Epling, with complete disregard for his personal safety, entered the swift, cold waters of the Colorado River to rescue the female alien. He…reached for the woman and pulled her to the safety of the riverbank where another agent waited to assist.`" [Border patrol agent eulogized By Jerry Seper , Washington Times, December 24, 2003]
But then the current pulled him into a 27-foot hole.
Border Patrol agents found Epling three days later—drowned in the Colorado River.
The five illegal aliens were four Chinese citizens and one Mexican national, a 22 yr-old alien smuggler named Jose Antonio Vasquez-Villasenor.
Contrary to what many seem to think, illegal entry into the United States is a crime. But the offender is usually just deported.
When someone commits a felony that causes an "accidental" death, such as arson of the house they thought was empty, they can be charged with murder. This is known as the felony murder doctrine.
At the time, Michael Nicley, the patrol agent in charge of the Yuma sector, said
"`There has been a death of a federal agent while he was responding to the commission of a serious felony,` Nicley said. `So, there are some options the FBI is considering.`"
Side note: At that time, Border Patrol didn`t know that one in the party was a coyote [alien smuggler]. By "commission of a serious felony," Nicley meant the illegal entry of any alien. Th eBorder Patrol, unlike other government agencies, considers illegal entry into the U.S. a serious crime.
So can you guess what the punishment is for illegal entry which results in death of another person?
Answer: Pretty much nothing, unless you`re a smuggler. Even then it`s only 57 months in jail.
U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones sentenced Vasquez-Villasenor to 57 months in prison for `immigrant smuggling resulting in a death.`
Three of the Chinese would-be immigrants were held in the United States as potential material witnesses to a crime.
Now don`t laugh at me, but I thought they meant "material witnesses" against each other, not the smuggler.
There must be a fine line between optimism and ignorance. It never occurred to me that the Chinese aliens would not be held equally, or more, responsible for James Paul Epling`s death.
Yeah, not so much, methinks.
Then why is the blame, as piddling as his penalty was, entirely with the smuggler?
Because United Nations protocol on alien smuggling, and compliant American politicians, want it that way.
According to The Protection Project, a legal-human rights research institute based at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.:
"Smuggling of aliens or `illegal migrant smuggling` is defined by the UN 2000 Protocol Against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the UN Convention against transnational Organized crime, to mean `the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of illegal entry of a person into a state, party of which the person is not a national or permanent resident.`` [Article 3 (a)]."
What this means is the smuggled persons become the `victims`—in a sense, hostages.
The Protection Project says `the smuggled person is entitled to be treated with dignity` and details all the protections that we owe to smuggled aliens.
Thus, when the four Chinese aliens had hired a Mexican national to smuggle them into the United States, they promoted themselves `smuggled aliens` instead of criminals.
Unfortunately, immigration enthusiast politicians, including our president, make the situation even worse. They do that by painting the picture of the poor, blameless immigrant.
Case in point: in his recent interview with Bill O`Reilly, President Bush said "family values don`t stop at the border." In other speeches he makes the same statement but replaces border with Rio Grande. While Governor of Texas he said,
Latinos come to the US to seek the same dreams that have inspired millions of others: they want a better life for their children.
What I hear Bush saying is this: We can`t blame them for wanting a better life. We are the land of opportunity and therefore a natural flame for any foreign moth. We practically lure them across the border. To restrict them in any way would be uncivilized.
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Az), just finishing his first two-year Mecha Mission in Washington D.C., believes , according to the San Francisco Chronicle, that "increased policing is only a superficial solution to a complex problem." He says that "These economic refugees continue to run here because there`s a pull; they continue to find work. The idea of feeding yourself and your family is a hell of a motivator."
What this propagates is a justice system that grants criminal immunity based on an artificial victim status. The person who paid the coyote`s fee is not guilty, because they were only going to work illegally, the coyote is guilty because he took a fee, not much money when you compare it to the public charge likely to be incurred by one illegal`s residence in the United States.
In this strange new world, illegal immigration is apparently to be the mirror image of a `hate crime`—an offence that is excused by motive, whereas `hate` exacerbates an offence.
After all, the desire for money and sex is probably even stronger than the desire for `a better life.` But does motive ever excuse bank robbery or rape?
Umm, not so much.
James Epling`s wife was eight months pregnant with their fourth child when the 24 year-old Border agent drowned.
The penalty for the Chinese accomplices was—deportation.
The U.N. protocol, with the connivance of pro-immigration politicians, has focused law enforcement on the smuggler.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.