How is it that so many illegal aliens who go on to commit heinous crimes were caught by law enforcement for previous infractions but never removed? That is the question that should be the subject of endless hearings by Senate Republicans, as House Democrats hold a string of hearings on the welfare of illegal aliens. The case of an illegal alien who just admitted to sexually assaulting two minors for many years should serve as the latest example of the need for aggressively enforcing the laws on the books.
On Saturday, Palm Beach County, Florida, officials arrested Dilson Mejia-Licona, an illegal alien from Honduras, on two counts of lewd behavior with a minor. He is accused of sexually assaulting a child between 2012 and 2017 while the girl was 6 to 11 years old. He is also charged with sexually assaulting her older sister who is now an adult when she was about 13 years old.
The details of the domestic relationship surrounding the alleged assaults, first reported by the Palm Beach Post, appear to be murky. The police report doesn’t really describe Mejia-Licona’s relationship to the victims, but it appears that he was a boyfriend of the mother of these girls. The police report is extremely graphic and describes them all sleeping in the same room, with Mejia-Licona admitting to touching them in terribly graphic ways over an extended period of time. When the female detective who is fluent in Spanish asked him why he acted this way, he replied, “I don’t know, I guess I am just perverted.”
As we’ve reported before, the child molestation problem is not just a criminal alien issue, but is systemically part of the culture in some parts of Central America where child marriages are the rule, not the exception. Roughly one quarter of pregnancies in Honduras are to teen mothers, the second highest rate in Latin America. While the Honduran government has taken steps to ban child marriages, they are still commonplace particularly in the rural areas and among the poorer residents, precisely the people who come here illegally. With hundreds of thousands coming from those villages in rural Central America, it’s no surprise we are seeing an epidemic of child sex cases with illegal aliens.
However, there is something more disturbing about this. What if these alleged molestations could have been prevented? Our laws are designed so that illegal aliens are supposed to be detected upon their first interaction with a government entity. They are required to register with DHS (8 U.S. Code §1304), and their status is not supposed to be shielded from detection (§1324). According to court records, Mejia-Licona had been caught at least three times driving without a license in 2012, 2017, and 2018. How is someone like that caught without a license and not asked about his citizenship?
Those of us who live in the real world are asked all the time whether we are citizens for the most mundane private or public services, irrespective of how we look. How is it, then, that illegal aliens can be pulled over by cops and cycle in and out of county courts without their illegal status ever being discovered and turned over to the proper authorities? Yet, Mejia-Licona appeared in court several times during these cases and even got a Spanish-language interpreter paid for by taxpayers. Had he been removed after the first incident of driving without a license, these girls would never have been harmed.
Driving without a license is a serious problem and the fact that he was on the roads without one and was caught three times over a period of 6 1/2 years, according to court records, demonstrates the lawlessness in immigration enforcement. Congress needs to work with state officials on creating a process for always asking citizenship status when an officer pulls someone over for a driving violation or at least in the forms in court. Some of the worst criminals are often initially engaged by law enforcement or the court system through traffic citations, and if they are here illegally, that should be their last infraction in this country.
Even absent new congressional action, there is no reason why politicians on a local level shouldn’t be more proactive in enforcing immigration laws the same way localities enforce so many other federal laws. As Justice Clarence Thomas said in Arizona v U.S. (2010), “States, as sovereigns, have inherent authority to conduct arrests for violations of federal law, unless and until Congress removes that authority.” There is nothing in federal statute that prohibits local law enforcement from inquiring about citizenship status as a standard for every interaction with a resident.
Indeed, it is preposterous for anyone to assert that local law enforcement can’t arrest someone who must be deported by federal law. Quite the contrary: 8 U. S. C. §1644 unambiguously says that “no State or local government entity may be prohibited, or in any way restricted, from sending to or receiving from” federal immigration officials “information regarding the immigration status” of a foreign national. And, of course, §1373(c) says that ICE “shall respond to an inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency.”
Florida no longer permits counties to be sanctuary jurisdictions, thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis. However, the horrific alleged crimes of Dilson Mejia-Licona should prompt more aggressive action to actively ensure that citizenship of anyone who cycles into the justice system is known and conveyed to the right authorities. After all, why should we harbor other countries’ criminals when we have enough of our own? (For more from the author of “Illegal Alien Who Could Have Been Deported Admits to Years of Child Sex Abuse” please click HERE)