Sacramento Tragedy Leads to Extreme Overgeneralizations About Undocumented Community

Oct 29, 2014
3:37 PM

What happened last Friday in Sacramento, where two Northern California sheriff’s officers were killed, was tragic. The suspect is Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamonte, “a Mexican who lived without papers in this country for more than a decade after he was deported in 1997 and again in 2001 because of drug- and weapon-related arrests,” as reported today by The New York Times.

The deaths of Daniel Oliver and Michael Davis are senseless, just like the time when a little girl named Brisenia Flores and her dad were killed in 2009 by Arizona minutemen. Humanity’s ugly side can get very ugly at times. Any type of violence is evil.

The reason why we raise all this is that in the last 48 hours, we have received emails and tweets asking us where our story about the Sacramento killings was. For example, this came today in an email under the subject WHY NO COVERAGE?: “Obama’s poster child for his expected Amnesty Executive Order for 11.7 million illegals, unlawfully in the USA.”


When we emailed the person back saying that we did share the story on our social networks (twice) and whether he expressed such outrage for the death of Flores a few years back, he wrote this: “Even had the cojonas [sic] to share on the front page of their website ~ not just on their ‘networks’.” (Granted, our networks have about 75K people, but we guess that wasn’t enough for Mr. Cojonas, who also shared this.)

Which is why we think there needs to be a moment to explore the issue here and why has it gotten so political so quickly: what happened in Sacramento last week is beyond tragic. In 2009, what happened to Brisenia Flores in the heat of raw anti-immigration hate was also extremely sad. Yet it took the Times just days to cover the Sacramento story, but over a month to cover the Flores story.


Why did The Times start its story like this? “It would seem to be a worst case that opponents of the Obama administration on immigration had long forecast…”

Why did The Times include quotes from Federation for American Immigration Reform, already identified as a hate group?

Did The Times check to see what FAIR has been saying recently?

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has just 20,000 employees, only half of which are dedicated to the apprehension and removal of illegal aliens. The cooperation of state and local police forces, which number about 800,000 strong, is vital to ferreting out those among us who wish to cause us harm. At least five of the 9/11 hijackers were illegal aliens, of which four — ringleader and pilot Mohammed Atta, pilot Hani Hanjour, pilot Ziad Jarrah, and muscle Nawaf al-hazmi — came into contact with state and local law enforcement several times before the attacks for various reasons. If those state and local law enforcement agencies had been working with federal immigration officials, the 9/11 terrorist plot might have been thwarted.

And why dis The Times slip into overgeneralization?

He was hardly an isolated example of a foreigner coming back to the United State illegally after deportation. From 2003 to 2013, about one-third of all deportations, 1.1 million, were based on reinstatements of court orders from previous deportations of the same immigrants, according to Marc R. Rosenblum, a researcher at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan group in Washington.

So is there a suggestion that all the 1.1 million are suspected killers and/or terrorists? Or, can it be that most of those 1.1 million are actually being reunited with families based on their situations and that there is a false belief that there is massive criminal action going on?

Nationally, since 1994, the violent crime rate has declined 34% and the property crime rate has fallen 26%, even as the number of undocumented immigrants has doubled. According to the conservative Americas Majority Foundation, crime rates during the period 1999–2006 were lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates. During that period the total crime rate fell 14% in the 19 top immigration states, compared to only 7% in the other 31. Truth is, foreign-born people in America — whether they are naturalized citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented — are incarcerated at a much lower rate than native-born Americans, according to the National Institute of Corrections.

But if you ask FAIR and Mr. Cojonas, we would think they really believe that this country now has 1.1 suspected cop killers so everyone needs to be deported because you know… terrorists.

“What happened in Sacramento is horrible and a tragedy. But it’s made worse by anti-immigrant groups, and maybe ICE itself, exploiting it for their own ends. There’s clearly a race question at work when the fate of millions of people is falsely tied to one isolated case,” said B. Loewe, a spokesman for National Day Laborer Organizing Networks (NDLON).

We know the immigration system in broken, but we also know that there is a huge leap of logic that enters a slippery slope when we start suggesting that the Bracamonte case is the actual everyday standard. Groups like FAIR sure want you to think so. But we all know what is behind their motives.

Then there is this from 2007:

Tragedy is tragedy. The loss of life is devastating. But the idea that we are now some immigrant-infested country of Latin@ cop-killers is just not true. We need to have less of these thoughts:

If we want to have real talks about violence, crime and murder, let’s have them. But let’s separate the issues from the fear.