A Father's Plea to the Gang of Eight: Unlicensed Immigrant Killed My Son, Please Help Protect Americans

Rosenberg's picture

By Don Rosenberg

Don is an entertainment executive, public safety advocate and proud father of three, one of whom was killed by an illegal alien. Learn more about Don's advocacy at www.unlicensedtokill.org.

The writer's views are his own.

June 9, 2013

The following is an edited version of my letter to Senator Jeff Sessions with copies to the Gang of Eight, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein as well as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.

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Dear Senator Sessions:

The immigration reform debate has covered many issues. There have been discussions about national security, amnesty, the Dream Act, border security, E-Verify and student visas. For those here illegally, Americans have heard that it is time to “bring them out of the shadows,” offer a pathway to citizenship and reunite families. S.744 is a bill that is trying to offer something for everyone. But not quite.

Americans haven’t heard about those like me who are victims of illegal aliens. Many citizens have lost jobs because of illegal aliens. Certainly illegal aliens have cost taxpayers money. But S.744 offers nothing to families like mine who have lost loved ones or who have been permanently injured because of illegal aliens.

You introduced an amendment to help secure the border. Your efforts are noble but are not enough. Illegal aliens live throughout the United States. The only real way to protect victims is to make sure that existing laws are enforced, and that offenders never get the opportunity to commit their crimes here.

At a February Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chris Crane, the President of the National Immigration Customs and Enforcement Council, testified. Crane began his testimony telling about a man whose son was killed by an alien driving without a license. The unlicensed driver had failed the driving test several times and had been caught earlier driving without a license. I was that man who called Crane. My son Drew was a 25-year-old law student in San Francisco.

The horrific story of how my family was treated by the San Francisco District Attorney, the state of California, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is on my website here.

It became clear to me within weeks of my son’s death that there was something wrong as it pertained to unlicensed drivers. The man who killed my son was in the country under Temporary Protective Status. As he was here legally, I started to research unlicensed drivers which quickly led me to illegal aliens.

I’ve testified three times in Sacramento, and many times in front of the Los Angeles Police Commission. I’ve been on local and national radio and television broadcasts countless times. I’ve filed over 25 Freedom of Information requests and have networked with people all over the United States who have suffered the same tragedy.

Let me give you a few facts that demonstrate the magnitude of this problem.

  • About 4,000 of these deaths are caused by illegal aliens. Illegal aliens cause traffic fatalities at five times the rate of licensed drivers. They are five times more likely to drive drunk.In almost 50% of illegal alien-caused traffic fatalities the driver was drunk. They flee the scene (hit and run) over 35% of the time compared to 3.7% for licensed drivers
  • They represent approximately 2.5% of all drivers but are responsible for 12.5% of all traffic fatalities.

  • In the past 10 years they have killed over 40,000 people. Despite these horrific statistics they drive with impunity in many areas, particularly California.
  • In 2009 Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, decided that the city no longer had to follow state driving laws which required cars of unlicensed drivers to be impounded for 30 days. He said, “This issue is being blown out of proportion.”
  • Then police chief and now District Attorney George Gascón said that this new policy was because poor people couldn’t afford driver's licenses. A California driver’s license is $32 for six years.

Just days before he killed my son, Roberto Galo was caught driving without a license or insurance and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Galo's car was impounded for less than 24 hours because no one with a license could meet him when he was caught. The driving without a license and no insurance charges were dropped. He got his car back the next day and continued to drive until he killed my son. Although Galo was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail, he was released after 43 days.

While Galo was in jail I met with Congressman Henry Waxman to make sure that once released he would be detained by ICE and deported. Waxman's office, however, learned that Galo would not be deported because although he was convicted of two misdemeanors the driving without a license conviction, per USCIS policy, did not count. Therefore, Galo had only committed, “one crime of moral turpitude.” USCIS considers driving without a license a minor offense.
 
I asked USCIS Director Mayorkas if he thought a crime that killed over 7,000 people a year qualified as a minor offense. Since Mayorkas refused to answer my question, I assume he still considers over 7,000 deaths to be a minor offense.

It took me eight months of letter writing, phone calls and a few columns by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders to finally get Galo deported. [SF's Dangerous Policy on Unlicensed Drivers, by Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2013]

Thousands of illegal aliens have killed people in traffic collisions who were never deported and will be legalized if S.744 passes. In fact, had Galo not been deported and driven and killed again, under the current Senate bill he would still be eligible for citizenship. S 744 allows for up to three misdemeanors and even then gives DHS sole authority to waive that requirement. Countless waivers could be granted in the interest of family reunification.

I could tell you hundreds of stories similar to mine. I'm a law-abiding citizen with no misdemeanors. Although I am a lifelong liberal, S.744 violates true liberal values.

S.744 insults victims and desecrates the dead. Aliens have killed and injured hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens while perpetrating all types of crimes. In doing so, they have also destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of surviving family and friends.

Please continue to fight on behalf of Americans like me to defeat S.744. I will travel to Washington to meet with you at any time.

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Please FAX your Senators from the CAPS Legislative Alert page to urge them to read S.744 before they vote on the legislation.  

 

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