Here we go again: Serial drunk driver. Countless trips through the revolving door. Immigration status ignored. Now, a four-year-old girl dead. Her mother and brother hospitalized.
The community is outraged. Politicians claim to be perplexed. And the pro-illegal alien amnesty group is ready to pounce on anyone who dares talk about this case as a right-wing, hate-mongering extremist. Same old, same old bloody, open-borders nightmare:
Despite repeated trips through Douglas County’s criminal justice system, Eleazar Rangel-Ochoa wasn’t identified as an illegal immigrant until this week, after he was accused of causing a crash in west Omaha that killed 4-year-old Josie Bluhm.
It was unclear exactly how Rangel-Ochoa’s immigration status went undetected after so many court appearances and revocations of his driving privileges. But part of the reason was the inability to thoroughly check his documentation the first time he walked into the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
Rangel-Ochoa, 27, applied for his first Nebraska driver’s license in September 1998 using a Social Security card, according to state records. At the time, employees were unable to verify the validity of the Social Security number with a federal database, said Beverly Neth, director of the Motor Vehicles Department.
The same was true in June 2000, when Rangel-Ochoa’s license was reinstated.
It wasn’t until 2001, Neth said, that the state could check the validity of a Social Security number. So upon Rangel-Ochoa’s return to the Department of Motor Vehicles in 2004, he was sent away.
Rangel-Ochoa had been convicted in 2003 of third-offense driving under the influence; a judge revoked his license for 15 years.
He is now in the Douglas County Correctional Center with a federal hold on him as a suspected illegal immigrant…
…In addition to three DUI convictions in Nebraska, Rangel-Ochoa was convicted of DUI once in Kansas. Rangel-Ochoa’s DUI cases in Douglas County were misdemeanors.
Counts said the federal government always has worked with local law enforcement, prosecutors and jails to identify illegal immigrants. But recent efforts have increased, he said.
Bellevue police arrested Rangel-Ochoa in 2000 for his second misdemeanor DUI. Omaha police arrested him three times between 1999 and 2001 on misdemeanors. Counts said ICE and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service had not encountered Rangel-Ochoa previously, according to their database.
There was no indication that any law enforcement agency ever contacted immigration enforcement about Rangel-Ochoa, Counts said. Lt. Darci Tierney, an Omaha police spokeswoman, said the department contacts ICE “when an officer suspects that a person in custody may be subject to deportation or other action by ICE.”
“There would have to be some indication that the person was in violation of immigration laws,” Tierney said in an e-mail.
Bellevue Police Chief John Stacey said that in 2000, when they came across Rangel-Ochoa, the department would not have contacted immigration services unless the case was a major felony or a case in which multiple suspects were believed to be illegal immigrants.
Now, the department has procedures in place for officers to have immediate contact with an ICE agent.
Counts declined to say whether Rangel-Ochoa would have been a priority if authorities had contacted the agency after his misdemeanor arrests.
Four-year-old Josie Bluhm will be buried on Saturday. R.I.P.:
From reader Rich in Omaha, NE:
Omaha’s new mayor -elect, Jim Suttle (a Democrat) made these maddening remarks in April:
It surfaced at a recent neighborhood meeting, when Suttle was asked what role local government should take when it comes to illegal immigration. Suttle said, “We need to go to the source of the problem and quit making criminals out of the companies, quit making criminals out of people, however they might come across the border.”
Mr. Suttle was elected on Tuesday. The same day of the accident.