Here's the happy talk about illegal aliens (not all of whom are machete killers!): Slain workers sought better life for families, MSNBC, March 15, 2009.
Now the leader of a nonprofit social services group wants to make sure their brutal deaths don't reflect poorly on the area's large, often hidden population of Latino immigrants.
"This is a tremendous tragedy and the whole Latino community is feeling the pain," Angela Mateo Gonzalez, executive director of Servicios Latinos de Burlington County, said Wednesday.
The nonprofit group assists immigrant workers and is helping family members of the two victims raise money for their burial.
Gonzalez described the victims as hardworking immigrants who had lived and worked on the Sterling Chase Horse Farm on Highland Road for the last four to five years. Their coworkers and bunkmates, Carlos and Cesar Reyes, also had traveled to the United States from Honduras.
Carlos Reyes, 41, was charged Wednesday with two counts of murder for allegedly hacking Aguilar and Morales-Maldonado to death with a machete. Authorities said Cesar Reyes, 38, witnessed the murders and afterwards fled with his brother to Texas.
Investigators said the murders were the result of an alcohol-fueled argument between Carlos Reyes and the two victims. The subject of the argument is still undetermined, authorities said.
Gonzalez said the victims' family members aren't sure what sparked the dispute.
"All we know is that Carlos had a short temper," Gonzalez said. "They had lived together for four years, but [Carlos] didn't handle arguments very well. We're so disappointed two individuals had to die this way. It's horrible."
She said immigrants often have problems with alcohol, and getting them to seek treatment is difficult.
"Prevention is something we try to teach, but a lot of individuals develop addictions to alcohol in their home countries," Gonzalez said.
She urged Burlington County residents not to think ill of immigrant workers because of the killing.
"We're very sorry this tragedy occurred, but we do not want people to perceive [Hispanic immigrants] differently. People from all nationalities commit crimes so let's not start labeling," Gonzalez said.
She also said the men should not be condemned for being undocumented immigrants. She said immigrants like them fill unwanted jobs in America and work harder than most job holders.
As I've noted before, ethnic mouthpieces often step in after a gruesome illegal alien crime to head off a "backlash" by citizens against foreign lawbreakers. That word is not used in this case, but the intent is surely to focus Americans' alarm about a hideous machete murder into the "tragedy" aspect rather than it being a preventable crime that will cost citizens a bundle in trials and incarceration.
Had the government done its Constitutional job of maintaining borders and sovereignty, machete enthusiast and mean drunk Carlos Reyes would still be in lovely Guatemala, but we are not supposed to reflect on that detail.