An illegal alien from Guatemala suspected of killing an NFL player in a DUI crash over the weekend is facing federal immigration charges, according to the Department of Justice. It was reported after the accident near Indianapolis that he had a BAC of .239, nearly three times the legal limit.
Manuel Orrego-Zavala, 37, was deported once but re-entered the US illegally before the DUI crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson, according to US Attorney Josh Minkler.
Minkler stated yesterday that the defendant re-entered the country illegally for the second time and put the public safety of Indianapolis at risk and killed two men early Sunday morning. The other person killed was an Uber driver that Jackson had gotten a ride with.
Minkler added that Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered all federal prosecutors last year to make a priority to charge aliens that illegally enter the country, especially those who are a risk to public safety or have a criminal record.
Police identified Orrego-Zavala as the driver who allegedly ran over Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe, the Uber driver. The pair were standing on the shoulder of I-70 near Indianapolis when they were hit by a pickup truck. Jackson reportedly was feeling sick and the driver had pulled over.
The suspect fled the scene but he was soon arrested by the officer who responded to the fatal crash. He gave the police the alias of Alex Cabrera Gonsales. Jail records released to the media showed that the man was driving without a license. Orrego-Zavala was previously arrested by immigration officers in October 2006 and was forced to go back to Guatemala in 2007. He was barred from entering the US for 10 years.
But in 2009, he was arrested again and was deported to Guatemala. This time he was ordered to not come back for 20 years.
The accused in the case is going to remain in custody while the immigration and DUI cases are being investigated by the Indiana State Police and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. The immigration charges will stay pending until the state charges are resolved. Orrego-Zavala faces up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.
The man was also previously convicted of drunk driving in California in 2005 near Redwood City. ICE also reported that the man has several other arrests and misdemeanor convictions in Indiana and California.
This latest tragedy is inevitably going to be politicized by both sides of an intense debate surrounding legal and illegal immigration in the United States.
Trump Blasts Tragedy And Pushes for Immigration Reform
In several tweets yesterday, President Trump offered sympathies and prayers for Jackson’s family, while stressing his argument for immigration reform. Trump stated it is disgraceful that a person that was in the country illegally killed such a good young man and also another man. Trump said these tragedies are preventable and it means we need to get tougher on the border.
Trump also argued in his tweets that the country needs a merit-based immigration system; chain migration and the visa lottery are outdated and are hurting the country’s economic and national security.
The Trump administration regularly highlights crimes committed by illegal aliens. Last week, Trump used the State of the Union address to warn of the many dangers of MS-13, a dangerous gang associated with Central American migrants.
The Trump administration has also made other efforts to show the problems of foreign born criminals on American soil. In January, the Trump administration released a report that showed most people convicted of international terrorism charges since 911 were born outside the US. It highlighted cases where people came into the US through the diversity lottery or because they had a relation to an American citizen or legal resident.
The Department of Homeland Security has estimated there are 1.9 million noncitizens living in the United States, whether they are legal or illegal and have been convicted of criminal offenses. It is estimated that 820,000 of them may be in the US illegally, and 300,000 have felony convictions. Some experts contend that evidence does not show that immigrants are more dangerous than native-born Americans.
But for people who want to restrict legal and illegal immigration, another major question is whether our current immigration laws leave the country exposed to higher levels of crime. Opponents of the diversity lottery have often cited a State Department report that concluded the program may be giving some green cards to criminals, terrorists and spies.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump often spoke of family members of those killed by illegal aliens, and argued that their relatives would still be living if the immigrants were not allowed to come to the US illegally. Trump often made his case with Kathryn Steinle, who was murdered by an illegal alien in San Francisco in 2015. After the man shot her, he claimed it was an accident and he was acquitted of manslaughter last November. Trump renewed his calls for a border wall.
Indiana Congressman Calls for Tougher Border Security in Wake of Tragedy
Other politicians are weighing in on the tragedy as well. In the wake of Jackson’s death, Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita called for more vigilance to protect the country’s borders and to more strictly enforce immigration laws. He stated to the media that the needless deaths of two men at the hands of an illegal criminal should make all Americans and Hoosiers angry. Rokita stated the country must do more to get dangerous illegal aliens off the streets and to ensure this will never happen again. He said the country should build a wall, end sanctuary cities and end illegal immigration once and for all.
Rokita has introduced the SLAP Act in Congress, which stands for Stopping Lawless Actions of Politicians. The bill calls for stopping sanctuary cities from hiding illegal aliens or releasing them after being arrested for local crimes. He also is a supporter of Kate’s law that calls for defunding sanctuary cities.