WASHINGTON—Nearly 200 sheriffs from all over the country joined “angel families” outside the Capitol on Sept. 25 to denounce illegal immigration and the sanctuary policies that harbor illegal immigrants.
Several angel mothers, who had lost children to illegal alien crime, shared their stories of tragic loss and their hopes for more robust immigration enforcement.
Vickie Lyon was looking after her two young grandchildren on Nov. 7, 2001, while her daughter Nikki worked overtime to afford Christmas gifts.
“Nikki picked up the children a little after noon, and 42 minutes later, she was killed by Fernando Reyes, an unlicensed illegal alien from Mexico,” Lyon said. “He was drunk, he was high on cocaine, he was driving on the wrong side of the road, and he smashed into my daughter’s car head-on. She was crushed and instantly died. My grandchildren were also in the car.”
Nikki’s 4-year-old daughter Brieanna was resuscitated at the scene but endured years of rehabilitation and still suffers from epilepsy. Nikki’s 14-month-old son Brandon sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
“Neither grandchild, neither one of these precious babies, have a memory of their mother,” Lyon said.
“Fernando Reyes sustained broken legs and he survived. He was moved to an Orlando area rehab facility where his family came in the middle of the night and snuck him out. He has been a fugitive from the law for 18 years.
“I had to identify my daughter’s crushed body in the morgue. It was the most gut-wrenching, excruciating, painful situation of my life. To this day, that memory, that picture remains vivid in my mind.”
Lyon hit out at politicians and law enforcement agencies that create sanctuary policies that allow for the release of criminal illegal aliens and shield them from immigration authorities.
She blamed them for “harboring and protecting” illegal alien fugitives.
“You are co-conspirators and you are complicit in our American children’s deaths. You have blood on your hands.
You took an oath to protect all Americans. How many more legal American parents will you allow to identify their child’s body in a morgue?”
‘I Have ICE on Speed Dial’
Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, Washington, said he will continue to ignore the sanctuary restrictions imposed on the state by Gov. Jay Inslee.
On May 21, Inslee signed a bill preventing local and state law enforcement from asking inmates about their place of birth, or from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers—which is a request from ICE to either hold an inmate for transfer of custody, or to let ICE know when the inmate is to be released.
“Well, I don’t honor a detainer, but if I have an illegal immigrant bad guy in our jail, I can guarantee that somehow ICE will be waiting in the lobby when he gets released,” Songer said. “In fact, I’ve even mentioned publicly that I have ICE on speed dial, and I will call them.”
Losing a Child
Angie Morfin talked about the loss of her 13-year-old son to a drive-by gang initiation in Monterey County, California, on Dec. 29, 1990.
She said her son Ruben was shot in the back of the head and was on life support when she reached the hospital.
“As I walked in to see my baby, they had him on a table and he had tubes all over him, a big bandage all over his head. And as I walked in and I walked closer, they told me that Ruben was dying, that the only thing keeping him alive was the machine and that they’re gonna have to cut it,” Morfin said.
“I asked if I could kiss my baby goodbye before they cut it. I seen a teardrop fall out of his good eye, because his left eye was almost hanging out from where the bullet was lodged. That was the hardest thing that I had ever gone through and I think I ever will go through, there’s nothing harder than losing a child.”
Morfin, a Latino, said her community is affected more than anyone by illegal immigrant crime, “because we are mixed among them and everybody thinks we’re the same and that we think the same.”
“But we’re not, we don’t think the same. I was born here and I love being American.”
The killer, Ezequiel Mariscal, escaped to Mexico after the crime and remained a fugitive for several years before being caught in the state of Jalisco. He was sentenced to 20 years for Ruben’s death.
‘No Downside on Securing Our Border’
Former acting ICE Director Tom Homan, who has testified in Congress several times since he retired, has been involved in some fiery exchanges with Democratic lawmakers.
“I’m testifying again tomorrow—I guarantee you I won’t be asked a substantive question about policies,” Homan said. “It’s going to be hearing of political theater attacking the men and women of ICE, the men and women of the Border Patrol, those who serve their nation.”
Homan promised to keep speaking out about illegal immigration and sanctuary policies.
“There is no downside on securing our border, there’s no downside on less illegal immigration,” he said. “There is no downside on less illegal drugs. There’s no downside in taking money out of the criminal cartels’ hands, who’ve murdered our agents and and smuggled drugs and people into this country illegally.”
He said sanctuary policies are un-American and don’t protect immigrant communities.
“I’ll use Baltimore, Montgomery County [as examples]. … Nine rapes by illegal aliens. Seven of those victims were in the immigrant community,” Homan said. “So tell me how your sanctuary cities protected them. Seven little girls’ lives have been ruined. What did you do for them? Sanctuary cities, when you release a criminal alien back into the street, he’s going to re-offend in the very community he lives.”