You’re probably already groaning, expecting me to launch into some pre-Christmas rant on religion. We all have our personal reasons for “believing” or not when it comes to a higher power, but I’ve been offered a reason to believe in something even more elusive these days. Hope.
It comes in the form of an announcement by Bill Wrenn, Department of Corrections Commissioner for the State of New Hampshire. In the interest of full disclosure, I like Bill Wrenn. Back when he was the Chief of Police in Hampton, and President of the Chiefs of Police Association, he was one of the first people to call me to support my effort to gather signatures and petition the state to adopt stronger laws protecting children. He went on to be part of a study/task force, along with former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, that eventually led to new and enhanced laws in New Hampshire dealing with sexual predators. So I am not surprised to see Bill thinking out-of-the-box and bringing new ideas to the table.
The latest is an effort to allow early release for illegal immigrants, incarcerated in New Hampshire, in exchange for a quick deportation back to their country of origin. There are caveats. The applicant must be serving time for a non-violent offense, and must have served at least a third of their prescribed sentence. Wrenn signed an agreement with federal immigration officials on Friday, December 11th. Getting rid of some of these guys will save the state money and relieve some of the over-crowding that our prisons, like prisons all over the country, are experiencing.
It is odd, though, that there is a “fast-track” deportation option available. I mean…if we can do it quickly, and without fuss, for these guys, then why not expand that program to include, say…all illegal immigrants? Somehow, we’re not supposed to notice in cases like this, how the government, like when they’re granting pay raises for themselves, can act so quickly and decisively. It’s almost as though they’re capable of being efficient. Weird.
And the program also glosses over the more laughable probability that, without a secure border and an effective, controlled immigration policy in place, most of these criminals will most likely be back here before their cell is re-painted. These problems are systemic, and certainly not under Wrenn’s domain, but they do call into question the ultimate efficacy of the program. Still, it is forward-thinking in my view, and is pragmatic. Why are we feeding and housing these guys? This program all but eliminates the red-tape in deportation proceedings which, normally, can “take years”. How, may you ask, could it possibly take “years” to deport an illegal immigrant? Because it’s not a congressional pay raise, that’s why.
The program, in other states, does not require illegals to finish their sentence, but Wrenn felt it was important that they serve at least a third of their time. The law also requires that illegals who return after deportation, if caught, will serve the balance of their sentence. If they’re found the second time, that is. Wrenn went on to say that there “are certain benefits to removing these folks from this country who are here illegally and committing crimes.” I would edit that to read that there are “only benefits” to removing these people.
In 2005 my wife and I were on vacation with our kids in the Bahamas when we received a phone call. My wife’s cousin, Mary Nagle of New City, New York, had been raped and murdered. We were devastated. She and her husband, Danny, had two children, lived in Westchester County, and were not part of a lifestyle or community where you ever expect to get that call.
Danny had gone to work and had hired a friend’s company to do some work on the house. Some power washing and minor deck repair. The company sent Ronald Herrera Castellanos, an illegal immigrant who would hang on street corners in the mornings to get work. He had outstanding warrants for assault charges out of New Jersey. Apparently the cops couldn’t find him, but any number of local contractors could find him every morning.
Danny got a call at work, after dropping his kids at school. This animal, Castellanos, had brutally raped and murdered Mary, left the house in Danny’s clothes, and called the numbers in Mary’s cell phone, including her mother, to boast about his deed.
Castellanos was caught, tried, and sentenced to 133 years. Danny and his kids got life.
You can see, the illegal immigrant issue is a sensitive one with me. While I am glad to see any program that reduces the number of them here, I am irritated to learn that there is some “special” program to deport them quickly, but it is only available under these most strict circumstances, and, more importantly, only after a crime has been committed. In that regard, it seems ludicrous. But maybe that’s just me. I’m thinking, and I bet Danny Nagle would be thinking, it would have been nice if we could have “fast-tracked” Ronald Castellanos back to his homeland before he had a chance to murder a young American mother and wife and ruined the lives of her husband, children, family and friends.