The father of a black teenager murdered by an illegal immigrant asked “do black lives really matter?” in a House hearing to review the Department of Homeland Security’s policies towards “non-citizens unlawfully present in the United States.”
That father, Jamiel Shaw, and Michael Ronnebeck, the uncle of another man murdered earlier this month by an illegal immigrant, testified at Wednesday’s hearing in front of a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Both men asserted that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) lax detainment policies contributed to the death of their family members. ICE came under intense scrutiny last year when it was revealed that in 2013 the agency had released over 36,000 convicted criminal aliens from its custody. Of those, nearly 200 had committed murder.
Shaw told of his son, Jamiel Shaw II, who in May 2008 at the age of 17 was gunned down by Pedro Espinoza, a 19-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant.
“My family’s peace and freedom were stolen by an illegal alien from Mexico. He was brought here by his illegal alien parents,” Shaw told the hearing, chaired by Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.
Shaw described that his son, a standout football and track star in Los Angeles, was walking down his own street when he was accosted by Espinoza and a friend.
Shaw said that it was proved in court that Espinoza — who was in a Latino gang — targeted his son because he was black.
“Do black lives really matter? Or does it matter only if you are shot by a white person or a white a policeman?” the elder Shaw asked during his testimony, referencing a phrase that became popular following the police-involved deaths of two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Espinoza — who was eventually sentenced to death in the murder — had three gun charges on his record and had served only four months of an eight month sentence for assault with a deadly weapon and battery of a police officer. He was released from jail the day before he murdered Shaw.
“Why was this violent illegal alien allowed to walk the streets of America instead of being deported?” Shaw asked.
“Why was ICE not called to pick up this violent invader? We were promised that the federal government would keep us safe from violent illegal aliens?”
“I see in here black politicians, black athletes, black stars say ‘hands up, don’t shoot,”” Shaw said referencing another slogan adopted by Brown and Garner protesters. “My son was shot in the head by an illegal alien gangbanger while he lay on his back with his hands up. He still shot him through his hand and into his head and killed him.”
“The duty of the U.S. government is to always put American families first,” Shaw concluded.
The House panel then heard testimony from Ronnebeck.
His nephew, 21-year-old Grant Ronnebeck, was murdered last month while working an overnight shift at a Mesa, Ariz. convenience store.
Apolinar Altamirano, a 29-year-old illegal immigrant who claimed to have ties to the Mexican Mafia, shot Ronnebeck in the face while purchasing a pack of cigarettes.
In Aug. 2012 he was arrested along with two others after kidnapping, sexually assaulting and burglarizing a woman in her apartment.
He pleaded guilty to felony burglary and was sentenced to two years probation and turned over to ICE.
But ICE released him on bond pending a deportation hearing.
In that time, he had two orders of protection filed against him — one of which was by a women who claimed Altamirano threatened to kill her and pointed a gun at her boyfriend.
ICE was notified of the protection orders, but Altamirano “was still allowed to be free in our country,” Ronnebeck said.
“ICE should be doing its job for the American people with the America people’s safety and security first and foremost in mind,” Ronnebeck said in emotional testimony.
Also testifying Wednesday was Jessica Vaughan, a policy director at the Centers for Immigration Studies, who called ICE’s detainment policies and procedures nothing more than a “catch and release program.”
She also blamed the Obama administration for further weakening the agency’s resolve to detain and deport dangerous illegal immigrants.
“The vast majority of illegal aliens residing in the interior face no threat of deportation, regardless of when or how they arrived, or if they have been deported before,” Vaughan said in a prepared statement. “Many deportable aliens who are encountered and apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are released soon after, even if they have come to ICE’s attention after being arrested by local authorities.”
“This state of affairs can be traced directly to policy changes put in place by the Obama administration. While administration officials claims that these policies are ‘smarter and more effective’ and allow the agencies to better focus on aliens who represent a threat to the public, in reality the intent, and certainly the result, has been the dismantlement of effective enforcement.”