The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to release a revised deportation policy, and the father of a man who was killed by an illegal immigrant fears that people like his son’s killer could be set free.
On Wednesday, May 7, Don Rosenberg met face-to-face with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and two aides to tell his story and express concern that an upcoming change in deportation policy will only protect more illegal immigrants and make American streets less safe.
Johnson will soon release the Obama administration’s new deportation policy following a review ordered in March by President Obama, who called for “more humane” deportations.
Rosenberg relayed his conversation with Johnson to The Daily Caller.
“When did we get to a place where law breakers are considered victims and victims are considered bigots?” Rosenberg, who once called himself a lifelong liberal, says he asked during the meeting.
Rosenberg’s 25-year-old son, Drew, was killed while riding his motorcycle in Los Angeles on November 16, 2010 by Robert Galo, a Honduran who entered the country illegally but earned temporary protective status (TPS) after Honduras was deemed too dangerous for return.
Rosenberg has become a public safety and anti-illegal immigration advocate following his son’s death. His son’s killer had been cited previously for driving without a license, which he could have gotten given his TPS status, but was allowed to immediately get his car back because of an ordinance signed by then San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in 2009.
The ordinance, which Rosenberg said he thinks was an act of pandering to Hispanic voters, stopped police from impounding cars when the driver is found to be without a license. Galo, who got his car back the next day and kept driving despite never getting a license, later ran over Rosenberg’s son.
Galo was convicted of manslaughter for the killing of Drew Rosenberg. He served six weeks in jail for the crime, and was eventually deported in 2012 after journalists brought attention to the story.
Because of the circumstances of his son’s death, Rosenberg said he asked Johnson a question he asks of all public officials: “Do you consider a crime which kills over 7,200 people a minor offense?”
Rosenberg is referring to a 2011 study done by AAA which found that unlicensed drivers kill 7,200 people yearly. Rosenberg provided a letter he sent on January 17, 2013 to the then-head of US Citizen and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, which also included this question.
Rosenberg told TheDC that neither Johnson nor Mayorkas answered the question directly. Mayorkas is now the Johnson’s top deputy at DHS.
Rosenberg told TheDC that he left the meeting concerned about the direction that deportation policy will take. He said Johnson told him, “There are some things in this report that you’ll like and some things you won’t like.”
Wednesday’s meeting with Rosenberg was one of several Johnson held with advocates for tough deportation policies.
Jessica Vaughan, a policy analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, attended another meeting with Johnson.
“The secretary seemed surprised,” Vaughan said in a statement to TheDC, “when we suggested that DHS put as much emphasis on removing or deterring recent [visa] over-stayers as they do on removing recent border crossers.”
Both Vaughan and Rosenberg described Johnson as honest and considered their meetings constructive, but expressed concern that Johnson took far more meetings with advocates for reducing deportations.
Vaughan pointed out that all the meetings with advocates for strengthening deportations occurred on a single day — last Wednesday — while meetings with anti-deportation advocates occurred over a number of days.
Two spokeswomen for DHS did not respond to emailed requests for comment.