Vital Signs

The Cost of Immigration

Beginning in 1991, for more than a year, a 22-year-old Salvadoran immigrant sexually abused an eight-year-old California girl.  This permanent legal resident took advantage of her whenever he was at his cousin’s house, where he lived in Los Angeles.

He was not always there, so the child would return to the home of her girlfriend to play.  Whenever he was there, however, he would grope her.  He even attempted intercourse.

The immigrant molester was arrested on March 23, 1992.  He pled no contest to a sexual-abuse charge, was convicted, underwent psychological examination, and served only a few months of a six-year sentence with four years probation.  After his release in mid-September 1992, he obtained permission from his probation officer to go to Oregon for three months—unsupervised.

His conviction for child molestation, an aggravated felony, made the immigrant deportable.  But the Immigration and Naturalization Service nearly put this criminal back on America’s streets permanently.  (The INS didn’t even know that the alien had been arrested!)

But this predator faced a real guardian—a parent.  The girl’s mother informed the INS that the immigrant had been released from jail.  The INS’s response: So what?

A convicted alien child molester roamed American streets from September 1992 until September...

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