I have provided you with a news release that was issued by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to announce the sentencing of three illegal aliens who were found guilty of commercial burglary and other crimes.
Certainly this successful prosecution is something that ICE and the agents and prosecutors worked on have every reason to be proud. Every time a criminal is taken off the street the communities in which they had been operating are a bit safer.
However, I am truly at a loss to understand why the press release did not really cover the issue that at least two of the three defendants in this case were illegal aliens. In fact, the press release actually described all of the defendants as being residents of Florida.
Here is the paragraph that appears in the press release to which I am referring:
At the conclusion of a sentencing hearing held in federal district court in Pensacola, Jorge Alberto Ortega, 31, of Destin, Fla., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $517,000 in restitution. His brother, Rene Ortega Calderon, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., received a sentence of 90 months’ imprisonment, and was ordered to pay $514,000 in restitution. Francisco Javier Guillin-Bonilla, 37, also of Fort Walton Beach, was sentenced to 40 months’ imprisonment, and ordered to pay $468,000 in restitution.
Finally the issue of immigration status is almost discussed- here is the passage from the news release that partially addresses the issue of immigration status: t
In addition to conspiracy, Guillin-Bonilla was also convicted of using a fraudulent resident alien card as evidence of employment in the United States. Rene Ortega Calderon and Francisco Javier Guillin-Bonilla, who were not legally present in the United States, will be precluded from re-entering the United States after service of their sentences.
“The defendants sentenced in this case victimized numerous local business owners throughout northwest Florida. Additionally, Guillin-Bonilla engaged in document fraud, compromising the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system,” said Susan McCormick, ICE HSI special agent in charge in Tampa. “Thanks to the collective efforts of state, local and federal agencies working together, we were able to ensure that these individuals were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The wording was interesting- one of the defendants, Francisco Javier Guillin-Bonilla was convicted of using a fraudulent resident alien card and was further identified as engaging in document fraud- a charge not further expounded upon, although the Special Agent in Charge, Susan McCormick made mention of how the document fraud compromised the integrity of the legal immigration system. This is a serious allegation but yet the fundamental questions as to how the legal system were not addressed at all.
While both Guillin-Bonilla defendant Rene Ortega Calderon were described as “not legally present in the United States.” I presume that they are illegal aliens. Yet while the press release noted where they resided in the United States there was absolutely no mention of what their actual country(s) of citizenship is. There was also no mention of the immigration status of the third defendant, Jorge Alberto Ortega who was described as being Rene Ortega Calderon’s brother. While it is entirely possible that the third defendant was a United States citizen, possibly because he naturalized or possibly because his mother gave birth to him while she may have been in the United States, it is, frankly, impossible for me to comprehend how the agency that has primary authority and responsibility for enforcing our nation’s immigration laws from within the interior of the United States would not even fully address the issue of the citizenship of the defendants in this case.
This is not a matter of curiosity on my part but goes back to my training and orientation when I worked for the former INS.
Our training and our daily operating instructions left no “wiggle room.” We were absolutely required to identify anyone we came into official contact by name, date of birth, place of birth and immigration status. This was the case even if we interviewed the neighbor of the target of an investigation. The three individuals in this case were convicted of several crimes including the carrying out of a string of commercial burglaries that resulted in the theft of more than a half million dollars of property.
It is important for law enforcement personnel of ICE to be mindful of immigration status for a number of reasons. It may lead to additional criminal charges being brought against the defendants- for example, the press release noted that at least one of the defendants was found to be in possession of a firearm. An illegal alien who is found to be in possession of a firearm is committing a felony under the aegis of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)5.
There was also no mention as to how these illegal aliens entered our country- again, it may not have a direct relationship with the criminal prosecution that resulted in their convictions, but inasmuch as at least two of the defendants were identified as being illegally present, it would reasonably follow that there should have been some mention as to how they entered our country.
This information should probably been presented to the federal magistrate who set bail in the case when the defendants were initially arrested. I often worked closely with the federal prosecutors who were assigned to prosecute the defendants we arrested and often was called upon to provide evidence at bail hearings about the immigration factors in the case. A bail hearing generally addresses two issues- risk of flight and danger to the community. Illegal aliens are more prone to flight than are citizens. Illegal aliens can and often flee the United States if they believe that they are facing significant jail time. The picture comes into sharper focus when an illegal alien is alleged to have used false identity documents.
The immigration issues should also have been addressed for the judge who sentenced the defendants once they were convicted.
Therefore it must be presumed that if the agents did their jobs diligently, that the immigration background of the defendants should have been readily available and should have been noted in a press release.
It is disturbing that ICE apparently did not think that the immigration component of this case was newsworthy.
The federal government has sued the politicians, including the governor of Arizona for daring to enact an immigration law that essentially parallels the federal immigration statutes. This past summer, Secretary of State Clinton sent a report to the United Nations boasting about the lawsuit as a means of demonstrating the federal government’s concerns about “human rights” and the enforcement of our immigration laws appear to be little more than an afterthought.
The time has long since come for the federal government to place far greater emphasis on the immigration laws.
It is unacceptable that the appearance was created that the immigration law violations were little more than afterthoughts to the leaders at ICE who wrote the press release.
The purpose of our nation’s immigration laws is to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence is harmful to our nation and our citizens. When aliens manage to enter our country in violation of law or otherwise violate the terms of their admission into our country, the immigration laws are supposed to provide a lawful remedy in the removal of those aliens from our country.
This mission is, arguably, one of the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Please check out my website:
March 10, 2011
3 sentenced to federal prison for commercial burglary ring
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Three individuals were sentenced Wednesday to
federal prison for conspiring to transport more than a half million
dollars in property stolen during a series of commercial burglaries,
following an investigation by U.S. Immigrations and Customs
Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and numerous
other law enforcement partners in northwest Florida.
At the conclusion of a sentencing hearing held in federal district
court in Pensacola, Jorge Alberto Ortega, 31, of Destin, Fla., was
sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $517,000 in
restitution. His brother, Rene Ortega Calderon, 29, of Fort Walton
Beach, Fla., received a sentence of 90 months’ imprisonment, and was
ordered to pay $514,000 in restitution. Francisco Javier
Guillin-Bonilla, 37, also of Fort Walton Beach, was sentenced to 40
months’ imprisonment, and ordered to pay $468,000 in restitution.
Between August 2009, and February 2010, members of the conspiracy
burglarized businesses in Tallahassee, Fla., Panama City Beach, Fla.,
Okaloosa County, Fla., Walton County, Fla., and Thomasville, Ga.,
stealing construction and lawn maintenance equipment, tools and other
items, as well as four firearms. The group concealed the stolen property
in storage units rented by Jorge Alberto Ortega Calderon, and later
used U-Haul trucks to transport the property to locations outside the
state of Florida.
The total loss to victims of the crime was more than $517,000.
Investigators recovered some of the items stolen during the burglaries
from two homes, one of which was a residence shared by the three men in
Fort Walton Beach.
On Feb. 12, 2010, Jorge Alberto Ortega Calderon and Guillin-Bonilla
were arrested in Mobile, Ala., while attempting to commit another
burglary at a commercial equipment rental company. Rene Ortega Calderon
was present at the scene of the attempted burglary, but fled on foot. He
was later arrested.
In addition to conspiracy, Guillin-Bonilla was also convicted of
using a fraudulent resident alien card as evidence of employment in the
United States. Rene Ortega Calderon and Francisco Javier
Guillin-Bonilla, who were not legally present in the United States, will
be precluded from re-entering the United States after service of their
“The defendants sentenced in this case victimized numerous local
business owners throughout northwest Florida. Additionally,
Guillin-Bonilla engaged in document fraud, compromising the integrity of
our nation’s legal immigration system,” said Susan McCormick, ICE HSI
special agent in charge in Tampa. “Thanks to the collective efforts of
state, local and federal agencies working together, we were able to
ensure that these individuals were prosecuted to the fullest extent of
U.S. Attorney Pamela C. Marsh commended the work of the Okaloosa,
Walton, Leon and Bay County Sheriffs’ Offices, the Tallahassee, Panama
City Beach, Thomasville, Georgia and Mobile, Alabama Police Departments,
as well as ICE HSI, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“This investigation owes its success to the cooperative spirit of
these agencies and their collective dedication to securing justice for
the victims of these crimes,” said Marsh. “Had it not been for the hard
work of the law enforcement officers, investigators, and analysts in the
case, these crimes may very well have gone unsolved and the burglaries
would have continued.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.
You may also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or access this news release on your mobile device.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad
responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For
more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.