Family Fight, Border Patrol Raid, Baby Deported [New York Times]A few days before her daughter Rosa’s first birthday, Monica Castro and the girl’s father had a violent argument in the trailer they all shared near Lubbock, Tex. Ms. Castro fled, leaving her daughter behind.
Ms. Castro, a fourth-generation American citizen, went to the local Border Patrol station. She said she would give the agents there information about the girl’s father, a Mexican in the country illegally, in exchange for help recovering her daughter.
Ms. Castro lived up to her side of the deal. But the federal government ended up deporting little Rosa, an American citizen, along with her father, Omar Gallardo. Ms. Castro would not see her daughter again for three years.
The agents themselves have rejected the assertion that they may have acted a little rashly.
Holding Mr. Gallardo and the girl overnight, long enough for an American court to sort things out, would have involved “a tremendous amount of money,” Gregory L. Kurupas, the agent in charge of the Lubbock and Amarillo stations at the time, testified in a 2006 deposition.
Asked to quantify the daunting sum, Agent Kurupas replied, “Well over $200 plus.”
The Fifth Circuit court's opinion on this case can be read here. It is actually short (16 pages) and easily understandable; the Korean encourages everyone to read it. In fact, reading the actual opinion reveals another outrageous nugget of fact that the New York Times did not make clear -- the border patrol agents admitted that they knew the baby girl was a U.S. citizen. (See opinion at 14.) The Korean will spare everyone from a discussion on Federal Tort Claims Act jurisprudence, except only to say that (i) Judge Stewart in dissent has it exactly right, and (ii) the least the majority should have done is to do with concurring Judge Dennis did and give an explanation about how the discretionary function exception actually applies.
One of the biggest reasons to oppose harsh immigration laws is that such laws always end up infringing the rights of legal U.S. citizens -- and this is a clear example of such danger. Just one more day would have been enough to sort things out and avoid a separation of three years between a mother and a child. Even the worst criminal in America (who does not even have to be an American citizen!) gets days and days of court proceedings, at the expense of American taxpayers, to make sure his rights are not violated. The rights of a mother, a lawful American citizen who was on the brink of losing her baby, was at stake. The mother did all she could do legally, hiring a lawyer to file for a restraining order within hours. But her rights did not matter. The border patrol knew that the baby girl was an American citizen, but sent her out of America. Her rights did not matter either. Why? Because "we're getting rid of illegals, dey takin' er jerbs!"
When a law (or a particular implementation of a law) deprives of Americans the same rights afforded to a mass murderer, it is time to rethink that law.
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