October 2, 2006

Illegal-Immigrant Crime in SW Ohio: Willful Blindness Is a Big Part of the Problem

I corresponded with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Krista Ramsey on another matter many years ago. She struck me then as the living prototype of a very well-meaning person who, for reasons unfathomable to me, will not face facts when they are inconvenient, and who therefore should not be covering or commenting on hard news.

My impression of Ramsey was unfortunately confirmed Sunday in her hopelessly naive Enquirer editorial (“Danger in tarring aliens as ‘criminal’”). In response to the death of Kevin Barnhill at the hands of two illegal immigrants (one has been caught, and one is, as I understand it, still at large) and the citizen outrage about violent acts committed by illegal immigrants, she wrote:

All of us are saddened by the Barnhills’ tragedy and touched by their willingness to use it for what they see as broader good. But those emotions cannot blind us to the dangerous, if unintended, undertones of the cause they’ve undertaken.

Part of the rationale that drives the effort is that illegal immigrants carry with them what William Barnhill terms a “culture of violence.” Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel says her office has seen an increase in violent crimes by illegal immigrants although she has no hard numbers. She told an audience at a recent Citizens for Legal Communities meeting, “People who don’t want to obey our immigration laws aren’t going to obey our criminal laws.”

Yet officials at the U.S. Department of Justice say they have no statistics to back up those claims. In fact, they say they believe the majority of undocumented workers conduct lives of quiet conformity, working steadily at jobs and caring for their families. A 1994 study by the Justice Department showed aliens – here legally and illegally – to be six times less likely to commit violent offenses than were U.S. citizens. Indeed, many law enforcement officers say, fear of deportation makes illegal aliens steer so clear of criminal entanglement that they often do not report crimes of which they’re the victims.

First of all, Krista, Kevin Barnhill’s death was NOT a “tragedy.” You write as if it was just a bad break, or one of life’s vicissitudes. Horse manure — It was a wanton, violent, criminal act perpetrated by two people who had no business being here on someone who didn’t deserve to die. If you need a better understanding of why using the word “tragedy” is so pathetic, go here, and be sure to read the comments.

Second, your statement that “officials at the U.S. Department of Justice say they have no statistics to back up those claims” about violent crimes by illegal immigrants is either the worst-researched factoid I’ve ever seen, a willful lie, or both. And by going back 12 years for your information, you appear to be unwilling to look at more recent readily available information that might shake up your comfortable assumptions.

Here are facts that are irrefutable, Krista (bolds are mine):

  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) report number GAO-05-337R (‘Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails,’ issued May 9, 2005) informed us that “At the federal level, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42,000 at the end of calendar year 2001 to about 49,000 at the end of calendar year 2004–a 15 percent increase. The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years–about 27 percent.” (Translation: If the current estimate of 12 million illegals in the US is accurate, that would represent 4% of the country’s population, and would mean that illegals are 6-1/2 times MORE likely to be in federal prison than the rest of the population. June 2, 2007 update — Actually, this needed to be recalculated: Illegals are over nine times MORE likely (49,000 [27% of federal prisoners] divided by 12 million, compared to 133,000 citizen prisoners [the other 73%] divided by 300 million) to be in federal prison than the rest of the population.
  • A GAO report released that same day, number GAO-05-64R (‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States’) studied the criminal records of over 55,000 incarcerated illegal immigrants, and found that “….. they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990. They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses. About 45 percent of all offenses were drug or immigration offenses. About 15 percent were property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and property damage. About 12 percent were for violent offenses such as murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The balance was for such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud–including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice.”

Uh, Krista — How much criminal activity does it take before you’ll be convinced that there indeed is a culture of criminality and violence in the illegal-immigrant population, and that it permeates a significant percentage of it?

And while we’re on the subject of violent local crime by illegal immigrants — Why has the local press failed to follow up in any meaningful way on the attempted murder at the Hamilton Township construction site in July? This is the incident where a worker who was asked to produce proof that he was here legally left the construction site and came back later with 7-9 other “friends” intent on killing the job site supervisor.

If the Enquirer had followed up with the Hamilton Township officer in charge of the case, as yours truly has, area readers would know that:

  • Victor “Max” Martinez, the employee involved, was arrested, got out on bail (a $5,000 down payment on $50 grand), and is now at large. Oh, and by the way, his real name is Jose Ocasio-Nunez. The “Wheels of Justice” link is so weak that it doesn’t even have a picture of Nunez. It also doesn’t bother to chronicle the complete list of charges against him or to completely describe his possible whereabouts (both sections end with ellipses).
  • Based on tattooes observed on Nunez’s “friends,” police believe that the violence was MS-13 gang-related.
  • Further, police believe that the city of Hamilton is home to quite a few MS-13 gang members.

For chilling background on MS-13, go here.

The fact is that there is a significant criminal element in the illegal-immigrant population, that they are operating with virtual impunity in Southwestern Ohio, and that the problem is probably getting worse. Willfully blind journalists like Krista Ramsey, who refuse to recognize what is going on, and who backhandedly criticize those who are trying to open others’ eyes, are a very big part of the problem. Their failure to inform us of the dangers that exist could cause people to either miss clues that might lead to the apprehension of perpetrators, or could put people unknowingly into dangerous situations. It is totally inexcusable, and breathtakingly irresponsible.

How many more Kevin Barnhills will have to die before our local press and federal immigration officials start doing their jobs?


UPDATE: Porkopolis has more on the good, bad, and ugly of recent Enquirer coverage of illegal immigration.



  1. There’s definetely a disturbing pattern at the Enquirer in both editorials and reporting. Here’s some analysis I did on the reporting end of things:

    Local paper has an aversion to the “i” word and Fisking the Enquirer’s ‘Butler Co. talks tough on illegal immigrants’.

    Comment by Porkopolis — October 2, 2006 @ 11:54 am

  2. #1, I remember those posts, and they are good ones.

    Comment by TBlumer — October 2, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

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