WASHINGTON—Did any lawmakers fall asleep during testimony given by family members who lost relatives murdered by illegal aliens? That is what Sabine Durden told The Daily Caller Tuesday after she attended the Senate Judiciary hearing centered on family members of victims who lost their lives at the hands of illegal aliens.
“The hardest part for me was to watch some of the Congress members falling asleep and some of them were doing whatever they did on their phones,” she said. “There were a few that paid attention, because people were pouring their hearts out, and our lives have been shattered. They sit there and participate in it and don’t even have enough decency to just sit there and look at us.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley told TheDC he could not speak to Durden’s claim, because he was primarily focused on the families and not the other members. However, Grassley did say that members do react to e-mails and texts from staff indicating when action on an amendment, for example, of theirs is happening on the floor.
The hearing was called after 32-year-old Kate Steinle was allegedly killed in San Francisco July 1 by Mexican illegal Francisco Sanchez. Media attention surrounding the case skyrocketed as a result of Republican presidential candidate’s Donald Trump’s focus on the issue.
“It’s unbelievable to see so many innocent Americans that have been killed by undocumented immigrant felons in recent years,” Kate’s father Jim Steinle told lawmakers
Durden, a legal immigrant from Germany who became a U.S. citizen in 1993, lost her son Dominic in 2012 when an illegal alien from Guatemala, Juan Zacarias Tzun, smashed his truck into him while Dominic, a police department dispatcher, was riding on his motorcycle to work in Moreno Valley, Calif.
Dominic was killed instantly. Tzun who was 33 at the time, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge– vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. Tzun, who had a long rap sheet that included arrests for felony armed robbery and grand theft, spent 35 days in jail, and was later deported to his home country in March of 2014.
“I’m grateful to be heard–to have our kids’ names out there–to hear those stories and make sure that somehow, somewhere, somebody is going to stop this insanity of more American citizens getting killed for nothing. It’s not necessary,” Durden said.
She added she is also grateful that Trump brought the issue to the forefront.
“Mr. Donald Trump, no matter how people respond to him–whether they like him or dislike him, for me personally, and I’m not a politician, I love the man for what he did for us. He put it up front,” she said.
Mary Ann Mendoza also lost her son, Police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza a year ago when Raul Silva-Corona, an illegal alien from Mexico, killed her son in a head-on collision. According to reports, Corona, who was drunk and high on methamphetamine, drove the wrong way on to the freeway in Mesa, Ariz.
Corona was not deported over two decades ago in 1994 after he was convicted for committing crimes, like burglary and assaulting an officer, in Colorado. Corona failed to show up to his court hearing after the judge initially released him.
“This is my motto. The leniencies that our government is showing illegal aliens is costing innocent American lives,” Mendoza told TheDC.
“I’m a little frustrated with the length of time that it’s taken for this country to realize what a big problem this is, but it’s really hard to hear the opposition talking about they’re so worried families being separated and fathers, brothers, sisters being deported back to Mexico,” she said. “ What our country is forgetting is we are separated from our loved ones permanently. These people are still alive. They are living their lives and if they are separated and have to go back to the country they came from, then their whole family needs to go back with them if they want to be together.”
Mendoza and Durden later added that each family who testified about their experience is giving each other support and find comfort that each one understands the other’s tragedy.
Durden explained, “Through these tragedies we now bonded in a way. We became a family that nobody wants to belong to. It’s so much love. It’s so much compassion. We each know. We just look at each other and we know what we feel. We just nod at each other. We don’t have to say a word. We know and that’s the best part about being here surrounded by that kind of love.”