In what officials caution is now a dangerous and even deadly crime wave, Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City and over 370 cases last year alone. In fact, kidnappings and other crimes connected to the Mexican drug cartels are quickly spreading across the border, from Texas to California. The majority of the victims are either illegal aliens or connected to the drug trade. ED STRAKER
“I have put in place a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border,” Sessions told the judges. “If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple.
“If someone is smuggling illegal aliens across our Southwest border, then we will prosecute them,” Sessions said.
“I have put in place a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border. If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple.
“If someone is smuggling illegal aliens across our Southwest border, then we will prosecute them. Period.
“I have sent 35 prosecutors to the Southwest and moved 18 immigration judges to detention centers near the border. That is about a 50 percent increase in the number of immigration judges who will be handling cases at the border.
“All of us should agree that, by definition, we ought to have zero illegal immigration in this country.
“Each of us is a part of the Executive Branch, and it is our duty to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’
“Ours is a public trust. A responsibility.
“And the United States of America is not a vague idea. It is not just a landmass or an economy. Ours is a sovereign nation state with a constitution, laws, elections, and borders.”
Please support CNSNews today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)
The Latest: Tough prison term for Mexican drug cartel leader
1 / 2
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2010 file photo, Texas-born fugitive Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known as "La Barbie," center, reacts during his presentation to the media after his arrest in Mexico City. The former Texas high school football player who authorities say rose to the top ranks of a Mexican drug cartel is set for sentencing Monday, June 11, 2018, in Atlanta on drug and money-laundering charges. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini, File)
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, otherwise known as "La Barbie" (all times local):
A former Texas high school football player who authorities say rose to the top ranks of a Mexican drug cartel has been sentenced to serve nearly 50 years in federal prison on drug and money laundering charges.
Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as "La Barbie" because of his light eyes and complexion, was sentenced Monday in Atlanta. He was also ordered to forfeit $192 million.
Valdez was accused of bringing trucks full of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern United States and shipping millions of dollars in cash back to Mexico.
He was arrested in Mexico in 2010 and was among 13 people extradited to the U.S. in September 2015 to face charges. He pleaded guilty in January 2016 to conspiring to import and distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder money.
A former Texas high school football player who authorities say rose to the top ranks of a Mexican drug cartel is set to be sentenced on drug and money laundering charges.
Edgar Valdez Villarreal is known as "La Barbie" because of his light eyes and complexion. He's set for sentencing Monday in Atlanta. Prosecutors are asking a judge to send him to prison for 55 years and order him to forfeit $192 million.
Valdez is accused of sending truckloads of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern U.S. and shipping millions in cash back to Mexico.
He was arrested in Mexico in 2010 and was extradited to the U.S. in September 2015. He pleaded guilty in January 2016 to charges of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder money.
306 Bangladeshis Arrested in Single Texas Border Sector This Year
Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents arrested nine more Bangladeshi nationals last week. This brings the total number of Bangladeshi migrants arrested in the Laredo Sector this fiscal year to more than 300.
In two separate incidents, Laredo Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a total of nine Bangladeshis after they illegally crossed the border from Mexico, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from Border Patrol officials in Laredo. The arrests all occurred in south Laredo, an area well known for drug and human smuggling.
The nine illegal immigrants from Bangladesh arrested by Border Patrol agents this week brings the total number apprehended in this single sector to 306, Laredo Sector officials stated.
“It goes to show that our agents are arresting people from all over the world on a daily basis. Their intentions for entering the country illegally can only be determined after they have been arrested,” Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Jose Martinez said in a written statement.
The Bangladeshi nationals used a channel of cartel-connected human smugglers to make their way from their home country to the U.S. Their journey takes them from Bangladesh to South America, where they begin their northward trek to Mexico and then to the U.S., Border Patrol officials told Breitbart Texas in recent interviews. The smugglers are allegedly paid up to $27,000 for each Bangladeshi, officials said.
On average, more than 30 Bangladeshi nationals were arrested each month since the fiscal year began on October 1. During the entire FY 2017, Laredo Sector agents arrested only 181 Bangladeshis, Acting Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jason Owens told Breitbart Texas in a recent interview. During FY 2016, there was only one arrested in the Laredo sector.
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza told Breitbart Texas in his capacity as president of the National Border Patrol Council 2455 that we do not know the intentions of these people who come to the U.S. from countries with ties to terrorism. “What we do know is that if the cartel-connected smugglers can bring people with good intentions across the border, they can also bring people with bad intentions.”
“We have been lucky to catch these groups but there is no telling how many other people from countries that sponsor terrorism could be utilizing that same pipeline,” Agent Garza stated.
In addition to the Bangladeshi nationals, Laredo Sector agents also arrested Syrian nationals after they illegally crossed the border in the same area, Breitbart Texas reported.
“Laredo is a prime target for these ruthless smugglers because of our sector’s shortage of manpower and the lack of a physical barrier,” Garza explained in an interview with Breitbart Texas on Thursday. “We have 170 miles of river border with Mexico. Not one mile of that border has a physical barrier. We are wide open for these drug and human smugglers.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)
The title of a June 1, 2018 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) news release, concisely highlights how insane sanctuary policies senselessly endanger public safety:
3-month review shows how New York City's failure to honor immigration detainers leads to hundreds of dangerous criminals released — Many of those released offended again.
Here are the first two paragraphs of this press release:
NEW YORK — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in New York conducted a three-month review of detainers lodged with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and New York Department of Corrections (NYDOC) to determine the type of criminal aliens who have been released from custody without ICE being notified. Detainers are ICE’s request to a local law enforcement agency to notify ICE when an alien in custody will be released.
Within the three months, from January to mid-April this year, ICE prepared more than 440 detainers against aliens booked by NYPD or NYDOC. Nearly 40 individuals who were released from custody, reoffended and were again arrested for crimes by local law enforcement officers.
This ICE news release comes on the heels of the unbelievable statements of Nancy Pelosi in which she attacked President Trump for characterizing members of MS-13 as “Animals” which I wrote about in a recent article.
Clearly Pelosi is not alone is showing contempt for victims of crime while defending extremely violent transnational gang members. In point of fact, mayors of so-called Sanctuary Cities and governors of Sanctuary States are going well beyond vitriolic rhetoric to defend criminal aliens, they have implemented policies to obstruct ICE agents from identifying, arresting seeking the deportation of criminal aliens from the United States.
According to the ICE news release, the NYPD will only cooperate with ICE if the aliens for whom detainers were lodged if those aliens have convictions for crimes that NYC official decide are sufficiently egregious.
These dangerous and nonsensical policies engager public safety by enabling these criminal aliens to remain at large where, all too often, the prey on additional victims.
These policies also attract criminal aliens and fugitives to these cities so that they should really be called “Magnet Cities.” Let’s not forget that Kate Steinle’s killer unhesitatingly stated that he repeatedly returned to San Francisco after being deported because of that city’s sanctuary policies.
The term “Turnstile Justice” generally refers to the way that criminals are arrested and are quickly returned to the street where they continue to threaten public safety and commit acts of violence on still more victims, perhaps even the previous victims of their crimes, to intimidate them from testifying against them in court.
Where aliens criminals are concerned, however, there is a lawful alternative, harnessing the immigration laws to make certain that alien criminals would be deported to bring their criminal activities to a screeching halt.
Several months ago as I prepared to write a commentary about how immigration anarchists, such as the mayors of so-called “Sanctuary Cities” were undermining border security and immigration law enforcement, I thought of relating this another sort of “turnstile justice” and how, under former NYC Mayor Giuliani, the NYPD was able to reduce crime in the city’s subways by arresting subway riders who jumped the turnstiles to avoid paying for their rides.
This coincided with former NYC Mayor Giuliani’s “Broken Windows” approach to law enforcement of going after the relatively minor crimes to set the tone and sending the message that no crimes are acceptable.
A number of news reports noted that many “fare beaters” were wanted for other crimes.
NEW YORK (AP) — Fare beaters who hopped over grimy subway turnstiles back in the early 1990s were the first targets of a policing strategy that went after the smallest offenses and was credited with helping to drive crime down to record lows.
So now, a new policy to halt the prosecution of turnstile jumpers in Manhattan has some city officials and riders questioning it as a foolhardy turning back of the clock.
“The New York transit system is facing major problems already,” said Dottie Jeffries, 67, a daily subway rider who was just getting off the train in Greenwich Village. “And not caring about whether someone pays … sets a tone of permissiveness that could cause more trouble.”
It is also believed that this wacky decision was based on the fact that many illegal aliens were also avoiding the fares. With the ongoing love fest between immigration anarchists and illegal aliens, the needs of the illegal aliens are clearly the priority for NYC, a bastion of anarchy.
Sanctuary policies also ignore that alien sleeper agents, that is to say, terrorists who are hiding in plain sight, who violate the immigration laws to enter the United States and remain in the United States, but are scrupulously careful to not violate other laws to avoid calling attention to themselves.
This strategy was identified by the 9/11 Commission as is a key terrorist embedding tactic.
Meanwhile, New York City gets the lion’s share of federal money to protect the city and its residents from the omnipresent threat of additional terror attacks even as more victims of the 9/11 attacks continue to die from their exposure to toxins released when the World Trade Center collapsed.
The mainstream media have described sanctuary policies as being “pro-immigrant” when in reality, lawful immigrants require no protection from elements of the Department of Homeland Security that are engaged in the administration and enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.
Indeed, lawful immigrant lives are placed at risk, not by ICE agents, as Ms Pelosi would have you believe, but by these anarchistic sanctuary policies that don’t deter crime, but encourage crime.
Consider that some cities, New York City included, have made it a practice to reduce certain felonies to misdemeanors to shield aliens, who are convicted of these crimes, from deportation (removal) from the United States.
The hypocrisy surrounding immigration is beyond the pale. As I have previously noted, while Chuck Schumer has called for passage of federal law that would deem trespassing on national landmarks and critical infrastructure a felony with a five year maximum prison sentence to deter this crime, it is the very same Chuck Schumer who insists that aliens who trespass on the United States should not only not be deported from the United States but rewarded with U.S. citizenship.
One of the most frequent invoked claim by advocates for sanctuary policies is the desire to “not separate families.”
Family Court Orders of Protection: Of the 60,700 filings: Statewide: • 49,321 petitions (81 percent) were brought against non-intimate partner/other family members • 11,379 petitions (19 percent) were brought by intimate partners New York City: • 19,669 (82 percent) were brought against nonintimate partners/other family members • 4,337 (18 percent) were brought against intimate partners Rest of State: • 29,652 (81 percent) were petitions brought against non-intimate partners/other family • 7,042 (19 percent) of the dockets filed outside of NYC were petitions brought against intimate partners.
Amazingly temporary orders of protection were even issued to keep pets safe from violence. Consider this excerpt from that website:
Protections for Pets The number of temporary orders of protection issued in Family Court that included protection for companion animals totaled 536; this represented a 12 percent increase from 2015. There also was an increase in the number of final orders of protection, to 118 or 4 percent.
In the foregoing we have documented tens of thousands of instances where the courts in New York City and New York State ordered family members to stay away from each other to protect family members from violent relatives.
Do not these orders of protection separate families?
Of course they do, but then the lunacy of sanctuary policies have nothing to do with “family reunification or with protecting “immigrants.”
Furthermore, all though the statistics are not available, wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many illegal aliens have been issued such orders of protection? In such cases, deporting these criminals would not only protect public safety in general, but would particularly protect family members of vicious criminal aliens.
“Violent crime increased 170 percent between 2000 and 2014, prompting the city to take more aggressive policing measures.”
“In 2014, the city reported 119 violent crimes—an increase of 170 percent since 2000. In the early 2010s, Hazleton’s homicide rate rose to four times the national average. The police department, with a force of 34 officers in 2014, fielded 30,000 calls that year—this in a city once known for its tranquility.”
The working-class Pennsylvania city is struggling to adapt to a heavy influx of Hispanics from New York.
Charles F. McElwee
As you depart Manhattan on the George Washington Bridge, a brief interval on I-95 takes you to Exit 69 for I-80, the access point to New Jersey’s third-largest city, Paterson, and ultimately to the Delaware Water Gap, a geologically arresting gateway to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Following Pennsylvania’s toll bridge, you’ll pass billboards for resorts, outlet stores, and chain restaurants along a highway lined by hemlocks, mountain laurel, and birch trees. Westward, all road signs direct drivers toward Hazleton, a small city located near the crossroads of I-80 and I-81, one of the East Coast’s busiest intersections for truck traffic.
Centrally situated in northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region, Hazleton (population 25,000) sits on a plateau named Spring Mountain and boasts of being the most elevated incorporated city in the state. To first-time visitors or passing drivers, Hazleton presents itself as a compact vista of hilly blocks, packed with duplex homes, bungalows, and ornate church steeples, designating allegiance to the Latin or Eastern Rite. Its surroundings make a dramatic contrast of picturesque agricultural valleys, dense forests, and landscapes scarred by coal operations.
With a population long dominated by the descendants of European immigrants, Hazleton has been radically transformed since the early 2000s by secondary chain migration, principally driven by Dominicans—immigrants, both legal and illegal, as well as second- and third-generation citizens arriving from the New York metropolitan area. In 2000, Hispanics made up less than 5 percent of Hazleton’s population; they now account for more than 50 percent. Such rapid and dramatic demographic shifts are rare in U.S. cities. For Hazleton, the consequences have been profound, and the city is struggling to cope.
Known as the Crossroads of the East, Hazleton is a city shaped by numerous historical cycles, from its formation as a remote mountainous village to its emergence as a center for commerce and innovation during the Industrial Age. With the collapse of its coal industry, it then became a stable, if declining, community during the postindustrial era. It was long an ethnically diverse city, with a rich variety of Christian denominations and an active Jewish community and took pride in its working-class history and civic spirit. In a study of Hazleton in 1981, anthropologist Dan Rose observed that the “ethnic flavor of the anthracite era persists, and the investigator can still discern ethnic groups niched into the present political economy as they were in the nineteenth century.” Rose called Hazleton an “anthropological field worker’s delight,” finding it “both a city like other American cities and a place wholly set apart. The citizens have a deep awareness of these dichotomies and a vital sense of their place within them.”
Hazleton native Joe Maddon recalled the city’s almost tribal identity and pride during a news conference when he was named as the Chicago Cubs’ manager. The distinctive Hazletonian culture stems from a shared experience. The various European immigrant groups in Hazleton were united—and assimilated into American life—by mining work, the labor movement, high levels of military service, and the community’s churches and fraternal organizations. Coal-region communities like Hazleton, historian Harold Aurand wrote, took pride in “self-reliance, a strong work ethic, a capacity to save born out of a psychology of scarcity, a deep commitment to family, a sense of community, and strong religious ties.”
The city landmark that best symbolizes this history is St. Gabriel’s Roman Catholic Church on Hazleton’s South Side. For over 150 years, the church has served as a processing station for immigrant newcomers. The current church, completed in 1927, magnificently commands the city’s skyline with its pinnacled towers, copper spires, and centrally placed rose window. St. Gabriel’s architectural scale testifies to the historical size of its congregation. Founded in 1855 by Philadelphia’s Bishop John Neumann, a canonized saint in the Church, St. Gabriel’s was Hazleton’s first Catholic parish. Gaelic-speaking Irish immigrants introduced Catholicism here, having arrived to work as mine laborers from Ireland’s County Donegal, an isolated pocket in northwest Ulster. In Hazleton, the Ulster immigrants settled in the wooded cluster around St. Gabriel’s, and their neighborhood became known as Donegal Hill.
Throughout the twentieth century, St. Gabriel’s remained associated with the city’s Irish population. Looking to court favor during negotiations or campaigns, union bosses and politicians regularly visited the parish. St. Gabriel’s produced Pennsylvania’s first Catholic lieutenant governor, Thomas Kennedy, who later became national president of the United Mine Workers. In the 1960s, St. Gabriel’s High School hired a young Digger Phelps to coach basketball. Phelps placed shamrocks on the boys’ uniforms, portending his later role coaching Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish. At the entrance to St. Gabriel’s today, the choir-loft door contains a large frosted etching of St. Patrick—a tribute to the parish’s cultural past.
But the parish is no longer Irish. Beyond the stained-glass windows, past the Italian marbled main altar and suspended bronze light fixtures, is an ornately designed side altar honoring Our Lady of Altagracia (Our Lady of High Grace). The altar’s painting emulates a display in a Dominican Republic basilica. Mary is the patron saint of the Caribbean country. The altar fits in well at a parish where priests today hold Sunday mass in Spanish.
As recently as the early 1990s, St. Gabriel’s held monthly Spanish masses for perhaps 50 Hispanic parishioners. The neighborhood remained predominantly Irish, with its older residents spending summer afternoons on their porches on South Wyoming Street or South Laurel Street. By 2010, the church, along with the surrounding neighborhood, had been transformed by secondary Hispanic migration. Though many Dominican residents have ties to San José de Ocoa, a city on the island, they are typically Dominican-Americans from the New York metropolitan region.
Dominicans started moving to New York City in the 1960s, fleeing the Dominican Republic’s political upheaval and mass poverty, just as Congress passed the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, a major policy reform that unleashed family-based chain migration in the United States. Mass chain migration resulted in Dominicans becoming Gotham’s second-largest Hispanic group by 1992. Many moved to northern Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which transformed into a Dominican outpost, with bodegas, Pentecostal congregations, restaurants, and cab fleets bearing a Dominican cultural stamp. The Dominican New Yorkers tended to isolate themselves in the neighborhood, preserving their island culture with the aid of modern communications. A 2002 SUNY Albany study on Hispanic residential patterns found that, compared with other Hispanic immigrant groups, Dominicans had higher levels of residential segregation. The “average Dominican,” the report noted, “lives in a neighborhood where only one of eight residents is a non-Hispanic white.” Doubtless as a partial consequence of its isolation, the Dominican community has lower levels of income and higher unemployment, and receives public assistance to a greater degree, than other Hispanic groups.
While New York has enjoyed sustained prosperity and plunging crime rates since the mid-1990s, Washington Heights has remained relatively unsafe and impoverished, and its public schools are dismal. Over time, facing these urban woes, more and more Dominican residents wanted to escape. The September 11 attacks intensified that desire.
Hazleton’s budget can’t keep pace with all the new arrivals, many of whom need special services.
Hazleton’s low crime rate, affordable housing, stable schools, idyllic neighborhoods, and proximity to New York made it a perfect choice for relocation. In 1990, just 249 Hispanics lived in Hazleton, making up 1 percent of the city’s residents. But the earliest New York transplants loved their new home. “Most people in New York City think life in Pennsylvania as we’re living it is a dream,” a new resident told the Hazleton Standard-Speaker in 1991. “I can sit down in my house, open my door, watch TV to 10 or 11 at night. I don’t have to worry about someone walking in shooting me, ripping me off.” Another Hispanic transplant said that Hazleton should prepare for mass migration. “People of Hazleton have to realize we are going to keep pouring in,” he told the Standard-Speaker. “If not they have to learn we are just as free as they are. They can’t deny us anything. They have to start dealing with us. If they don’t deal with us, push has come to shove, and we’ll deal with them like in New York City.” After the towers fell, Dominican migrants began arriving en masse.
The texture of Hazleton life changed seemingly overnight. Vinyl banners with loud graphics soon came to dominate the facades of sober nineteenth-century retail buildings. Pentecostal and evangelical congregations now fill former Catholic and Protestant churches. Blocks of duplex homes, uniformly encased with aluminum siding, crowd with families living in Section 8 housing or in subdivided rental units. Satellite dishes adorn these properties, providing access to Spanish-language television stations. Elegant mansions, once owned by coal operators and merchants, have fallen into structural decay because of absentee landlords’ neglect.
The demographic composition of the Hazleton Area School District has grown steadily more Hispanic. In 2007, the district was 28 percent Hispanic and 69 percent non-Hispanic white. As of 2014, the district was 45 percent Hispanic and 51 percent non-Hispanic white. In recent years, Dominican parents living in New York have commonly signed over custody of their children to relatives or friends in Hazleton so that the children can go to better schools. But Hazleton’s budget can’t keep pace with all the new arrivals, many of whom need special services. A district that had need for only one ESL teacher in the 1990s, for example, now has 2,298 English-language learners, nearly 20 percent of its student body; more than half the student body today live in low-income households. By 2017, the school district—encompassing over 250 square miles of southern Luzerne County, northern Schuylkill County, and western Carbon County—faced a $6 million deficit, in part driven by the demographic change. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s School Performance Profile data, the school district generally scores low in academics. The high school, for example, registered a failing 57.2 academic score for the 2016–17 school year.
With Hazleton facing a nearly $900,000 deficit in 2017, Mayor Jeffrey Cusat applied for and received designation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a financially distressed city. The designation allows Pennsylvania to assist Hazleton in managing its finances and debt. The distress stems from diminished tax revenues, plummeting real-estate values, and the city’s shifting demography, which has led to a surge in demand for services such as public-safety efforts. Rising employee costs and pension obligations have added to the city’s precarious fiscal position. The state’s report on Hazleton’s budget crisis concluded that “the demographic and income changes affecting the city will only compound the future financial challenges.”
Violent crime increased 170 percent between 2000 and 2014, prompting the city to take more aggressive policing measures.
Crime has been a big challenge. In 2011, the U.S. Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) released a report on eastern Pennsylvania’s drug and gang threat. It focused on Hazleton as a regional center for illegal drug distribution. According to the report, Dominican drug-trade organizations (DTOs) and gangs started controlling the city’s wholesale drug distribution in the 1990s.
Hazleton’s proximity to I-80 and I-81 made the city an ideal location for Dominican DTOs to centralize their cocaine and heroin operations. The NDIC, which folded into the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012, noted how “the presence of a long-established Dominican population, along with interstate highways that directly connect Hazleton to other Dominican populations in New York and New England, makes the city a favorable destination for Dominican fugitives seeking a place to operate away from law enforcement pressure in those areas.” In the early 2010s, the opening of a minimum-security halfway house in a historic hotel building in downtown Hazleton worsened the drug-trade problem. When released, halfway-house inmates, it turned out, often committed drug-related crimes or joined local gangs. By 2013, the halfway house yielded to community pressure, closing its facility.
For many Hazletonians, the city reached a grim tipping point in 2006, when two illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic were charged with murdering a 29-year-old father of three.The killing shocked the community. Hazleton’s then-mayor, Lou Barletta, responded by introducing an ordinance, soon passed by the city council: the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which fined and penalized employers and landlords for hiring and renting to illegal immigrants. The ACLU challenged the act, and the fight went to the Supreme Court. In 2014, the Court declined to review two federal appellate decisions that struck down the measure. The following year, a U.S. district court judge ruled that Hazleton had to pay $1.4 million to the attorneys who had sued the city over the act. The judge’s order was devastating for a cash-strapped city struggling to provide adequate services to its growing Hispanic population.
The Standard-Speaker called Hazleton a “city under siege.” A New York Times Magazine profile of Hazleton’s heroin epidemic described the city’s Alter Street neighborhood as an “overt drug market linked to crime and decay.” The North Wyoming Street neighborhood—once a thriving stretch of Italian eateries, theaters, barbershops, and retail—grew notorious for its gang activity and drugs. Crime statistics reflected visual realities. In 2014, the city reported 119 violent crimes—an increase of 170 percent since 2000. In the early 2010s, Hazleton’s homicide rate rose to four times the national average. The police department, with a force of 34 officers in 2014, fielded 30,000 calls that year—this in a city once known for its tranquility.
The current police chief, Jerry Speziale, is working hard to reverse this downward spiral. A nationally recognized leader in law enforcement who previously served as Paterson’s police chief and Passaic County sheriff, Speziale has revamped Hazleton’s police department by increasing the force’s size, deploying data-driven technology, and engaging residents through social media and community events. Though the department continues to be bombarded with calls, the city witnessed a 40 percent reduction in criminal activity between 2015 and 2017. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office engineered a crackdown, led by a Mobile Street Crime Unit, that has helped the still-small department drive down the crime numbers.
Hazleton’s Dominicans live in a city that traditionally handled diversity by emphasizing assimilation.
Clearly, Hazleton wasn’t prepared for rapid demographic change—and it’s hard to imagine any community adapting to such a dramatic population shift. Older Hazletonians define themselves in terms of coal and continue to cherish their shared culture. In the late 1970s, a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter observed that the “residents of Hazleton have an attachment to the town so strong that they scoff at questions about why they continue to live here.” “They are genuinely friendly people,” he continued, “who talk about strong family ties, about knowing almost everyone in town and about growing up in an area near the Poconos, where hunting and fishing are good and where they don’t have to be bothered ‘with all those problems you have in big cities.’ ”
The younger Dominican population, by contrast, lacks any link to the coal industry, the fight for labor rights, or (for many) the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Dominicans also take pride in their culture, but their gateway neighborhoods in New York served as an extension of their country of origin; assimilation proved unnecessary. The pattern has repeated itself in Hazleton. The broader Hazleton community has encouraged Dominicans’ political and civic involvement, but the newcomers often remain disengaged in local matters. Hazleton has become an important campaign stop for the Dominican Republic’s leading political candidates, for example, suggesting to many Hazleton residents that their new neighbors, even when U.S. citizens—and many are not—retain stronger ties to their ancestral home than to their city, or even to America. Resentments on both sides have grown.
Hazleton’s Dominicans are living in a city that traditionally handled its immigrant diversity by emphasizing assimilation, but today’s conversations about immigration often downplay, and even dismiss, assimilation. During the Obama years, liberal elites, and many conservatives, ignored Americans’ longing for community stability. As columnist Peggy Noonan puts it, such elites, safely removed from the “roughness of the world,” have often supported immigration policies, including tolerating large numbers of illegal immigrants, that are harmful toward the “unprotected”—those living in struggling cities like Hazleton. “If you are an unprotected American—one with limited resources and negligible access to power—you have absorbed some lessons from the past 20 years’ experience of illegal immigration,” Noonan wrote. “You know the Democrats won’t protect you and the Republicans won’t help you.”
This was true of Hazleton, part of a county that, until recently, found political refuge in the Democratic Party. Luzerne County’s voters, though ideologically agnostic, nurtured an enduring belief in the legacy of the New Deal. But they felt increasingly betrayed by Democrats, who seemed unconcerned by the underlying problems of their communities. Many Hazleton residents preserve and maintain their century-old homes, spanning generations in their family. But they reside in neighborhoods now afflicted by late-night gunshots, noise-ordinance violations, drug deals, and blighted properties.
Accumulating socioeconomic angst translated into support for Donald Trump. In the 2016 Republican primary, Trump won 77 percent of Luzerne County’s vote. Wilkes-Barre, the county seat, became a regular stop for Trump throughout the campaign. In November, Trump again dominated in the county, helping to ensure his historic victory in Pennsylvania. The county, like the state, went Republican for the first time since 1988.
Former Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta, now a congressman, understood the frustrations of his community long before the 2016 election, as his 2006 immigration measure showed. On Capitol Hill, he has spoken regularly about the problems caused by mass low-skill immigration and chain migration.Trump has encouraged Barletta to challenge the Democratic incumbent, Senator Bob Casey, in the November 2018 election. A race between Barletta and Casey, two sons of the anthracite coal region, would prove a national test for Trump voters’ continuing leverage. Dancing on the Graves of Innocent Americans?
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine the mayor of a major American city who is so happy about a political victory that he spontaneously busts out into an Irish jig. That’s exactly what happened when Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney broke into a happy dance with his chief of staff after a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could not withhold key federal funds from the city, allowing it retain its coveted sanctuary city status.
Surprisingly, the mayor seems completely unaware of the high cost of illegal immigration foisted upon his state and its taxpayers by the presence of large numbers of illegal aliens. Here’s a few numbers to keep in mind:
·$1.3 billion: The annual cost of illegal immigration to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers;
·$5,003: The annual cost per illegal alien to the state of Pennsylvania;
·$273: The annual cost of illegal immigration to each U.S. citizen household in Pennsylvania;
·203,000: The estimated number of illegal aliens living in Pennsylvania.
·30 percent: The percent of the federal prison population comprised of immigrants – most of whom are here illegally.
And then there are the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens protected by sanctuary policies – victims whose graves Mayor Kenney figurative danced on as he celebrated a court decision that will allow him to release more criminal aliens to prey on innocent members of the community. Criminals like Milton Mateo Garcia, a previously deported illegal alien who was living in Philadelphia when he brutally raped a young woman in 2016. Or Darlin Navarro-Turcos, another previously deported Philadelphia resident who stabbed a man to death in 2014.
Sanctuary jurisdictions, known to serve as a beacon to illegal immigration while protecting dangerous criminal aliens, have grown exponentially in the last two decades. In 2000, there were only 11 sanctuary jurisdictions nationwide. Under President Obama, that number mushroomed to 300, and has now nearly doubled to 564 under President Trump.
America builds the La Raza “The Race” Mexican welfare state
"The state of California and the sanctuary city laws that make it a safe-haven for criminal illegal aliens is likely responsible for at least 5,000 crimes that were committed by criminal illegal aliens released by local authorities rather than being handed over to federal immigration officials."