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Today’s Carlos Slim Times features a two-hanky sob story about illegal immigrants from Honduras

Kelvin Villanueva was almost home one night last June when a policeman stopped him for a broken taillight. From his truck, he could see his longtime girlfriend, Suelen Bueno, waiting for him behind the glass door of their apartment. She often did that when he worked late. Villanueva supervised a small team of Hondurans — like him, undocumented migrants — who did finish carpentry on construction projects throughout Kansas City. It was normal for them to put in 12-to-14-hour days. During his 15 years in the United States, he had never been pulled over. Still, Bueno worried. The threat of deportation did not subside with time. You just had more to lose.

Before Bueno reached them, the officer had arrested Villanueva. After being transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he spent the next four months circuiting a nexus of prisons and detention centers. Mostly, he was in a Mis­souri county jail that held Americans accused of felonies. Fights frequently broke out between the black and Latino inmates. Villanueva kept to himself, rarely leaving his bunk, passing the weeks by reading and drawing. He called Bueno and their children every day. When they met seven years earlier, at an adult-­league soccer game, Bueno already had a young son and daughter; she and Villanueva had since had another one of each together. Villanueva didn’t differentiate. He’d always treated Bueno’s first two children as his own. Now, when the kids asked when he would be back, Villanueva told them, ‘‘Soon.’’

Bueno, who was also undocumented, could not visit Villa­nueva during his incarceration. Instead, she borrowed enough money to hire an immigration lawyer, who filed an asylum claim on Villanueva’s behalf. Before his hearing with an immigration judge, Villanueva was interviewed by an asylum officer, whose job it was to determine whether he possessed a ‘‘credible fear’’ of persecution in Honduras — would he be at risk of harm because of his race, religion, social group or politics? The officer’s analysis would inform the judge’s decision on whether to suspend or proceed with Villanueva’s deportation. When Villanueva spoke with the officer — from prison, by telephone, via a translator . . .

Note that after 15 years in the U.S.A. the guy still needs a translator.

. . . she began by asking him why he came to the United States in the first place.

‘‘To live and work,’’ Villanueva told her, ‘‘because in my country it is very difficult.’’

‘‘Difficult’’ might have been an understatement. Honduras is among the poorest and most violent countries in Latin America, and Villanueva’s hometown, San Pedro Sula, has ranked as the city with the highest homicide rate in the world for the last four years. (In 2014, 1,319 of its 769,025 residents were murdered.)

Read this next bit carefully.

Much of the bloodshed is gang-­related. During the 1980s, waves of refugees fled civil conflicts in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, many settling in Los Angeles, where street gangs were proliferating.

The syntax there implies that the proliferation of street gangs preceded the waves of refugees. Is that really so? Why would the Times wish to imply that?

To show that the condition of these countries is all our fault, that’s why.

Among Central Americans, two dominant organizations established a vicious rivalry: the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and the 18th Street Gang. When tough-­on-­crime legislation during the 1990s generated mass deportations, thousands of California gang members were sent back to developing countries ill ­equipped to receive them. In feeble, corrupt states like Honduras, the MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang flourished . . .

Mr Villanueva got deported anyway.

Although the officer found Villanueva credible, she did not consider him eligible for asylum; the immigration judge agreed. Villanueva was sent to Louisiana, where he was loaded onto a plane with more than a hundred other Hondurans. They wore manacles on their wrists and ankles, and their hands were shackled to chains around their waists. Armed guards accompanied them. Midway through the flight, bologna sandwiches and cookies were distributed. They were packaged individually, the sandwiches and cookies. Most of the handcuffed men and women found it easiest to tear the plastic with their teeth.

[The Deported: Uprooted from his life and family in the United States, a Honduran deportee returns to the country that he tried so hard to escape, by Luke Mogelson;New York Times, December 9th 2015.]

At the time I am posting this (1:25pm EST Wednesday) the Times story has accumulated 109 comments, overwhelmingly unsympathetic to Mr Villanueva.

You have to go through the first fifteen “Readers’ picks” before you get a comment sympathetic to the illegals. Samples of those first fifteen, in order:

Where are the detailed empathetic stories of American citizens displaced by unemployment, struggling to “live and work” and who find it “very difficult” (using the words of Mr. Villanueva) in American cities with gangs and violence and poverty? . . .

Another NY Times sob story about another illegal immigrant. Frankly I am tired disgusted of the NY Times continued biased reporting in support of illegal immigration . . .

These constant attempts by hand wringing liberals and Democrats to gin up support for illegal aliens who break U.S. law by entering our country are losing, not gaining, sympathy with Americans . . .

The #1 Liberal defense of allowing illegals to come here: “they’re doing work Americans won’t do”.

I’m not sure about Missouri, but where I live, lots of Vermonters make a living doing finish carpentry . . .

I am a left and a progressive voter, however there is one issue that I am opposed to, and that is turning a blind eye to illegal immigration. I am a legal, bonded, insured, tax-paying contractor and I am constantly competing and losing jobs to illegal aliens who are not only willing to work for sub-industry wages but have no overhead like I do. The overhead to run a legal contracting business is overwhelming . . .

There is no country in the world where Mr. Villanuava would have been permitted to remain after having entered illegally. Our current overachieving class, which promotes itself via “activism”, demonstrates its utter inability to reason morally when it pushes politically correct nonsense like this . . .

There are 7,000,000,000,000 people in the world. We cannot help them all by letting them in the US. There are other ways to help them . . .

Well Gee if he stayed in his home and improved it he would not be in this situation. He probably should have been deported much more quickly, and never return to our country illegally again . . .

A very sad story but typical of the sob stories which appear in the NYT about illegal aliens. I am sorry he doesn’t deserve to return to the US. He should try for a visa in Mexico or another country further south . . .

I am entitled to keep my country. I am not obligated to give away my country and my children’s birthright to the hordes of the Third World . . .

What is the point of this article? Clearly the Times assumes a position that everyone somehow has a right to come to the US and we should feel sorry for anyone who is treated as the law prescribes and sent home . . .

Let the refugee sob stories begin. So predictable from this “news” outlet.

His situation is unfortunate. But the answer can’t be that any of the billions of people who have it just as bad or worse than he does can move to the United States without permission . . .


Costa Rica or Mexico would’ve been the closest safe countries for someone with a credible fear of persecution. Instead, this man who wanted a better life came all the way to the US. No matter how much we want to help every underprivileged or persecuted person in the world, and there are many, we cannot. Our immigration laws, like all our laws, must be enforced . . .

Where did those voices have any political outlet before Donald Trump showed up? In which major political party?

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Illegal Immigration 
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  1. Jefferson says:

    “Note that after 15 years in the U.S.A. the guy still needs a translator.”

    In 2013, a Dominican man in New Jersey named Pedro Quezada wins $152 million dollars in the Powerball jackpot. When he was at the press conference to collect his check he needed an English to Spanish translator when being asked questions by media reporters, even though he had been residing in the U.S since 1988. If you have been living in the U.S since Ronald Reagan was president, you should have decent English speaking skills today.

    Can you imagine if an American immigrant lived in The Dominican Republic for 27 years and still was not fluent in Spanish.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
  2. unit472 says:

    Claiming asylum FIFTEEN YEARS after you arrive is laughable and should not be allowed. If you are seeking asylum you should be required to report to an immigration office and make your claim promptly ( 72 hours?), be held while it is investigated and sent back immediately if it is denied or given a temporary resident status that requires you to report every six months for review. Any DUI or other misdemeanor offense and you get deported!

    • Agree: Travis
  3. Even for a liberal rag, the commenters at the NYT can get in the face of the narrative.

  4. “Note that after 15 years in the U.S.A. the guy still needs a translator.”

    I just read a biography of John Adams. During the American Revolution he and his son (John Quincy Adams) spent a year and a half in France while he negotiated with the French for them to enter the war on the American side. In that year and a half both Adams and his son became fluent in French.

    • Replies: @David
  5. Jeff77450 says:

    Mr. Derbyshire, another great article; many thanx. I especially liked the comment, “I am a left and a progressive voter, however there is one issue that I am opposed to, and that is turning a blind eye to illegal immigration. I am a legal, bonded, insured, tax-paying contractor and I am constantly competing and losing jobs to illegal aliens who are not only willing to work for sub-industry wages but have no overhead like I do. The overhead to run a legal contracting business is overwhelming . . .” (Gustavo Arellano, can you speak to this very valid point without engaging in your usual tactic of “deflection?”)

    Makes you wonder what the news-slant on the topic would be if it were Americans who worked in the print & broadcast media who were being directly impacted.

    My wife & I live in the Houston, Texas, metroplex. You can’t live here and not come into contact with illegal aliens. The majority are outwardly nice people and I’m sure that they’re nice people in general. I wish them no ill but no, they shouldn’t be granted amnesty. “We” did that in the 1980s for millions of them and what was the end-result? A lot more illegal-aliens.

    (What happens when you feed a stray cat? It never leaves.)

  6. JEC says:

    The writer of this sad tale of woe at the N Y Times, shows talent at providing the insignificant and slobbery details that will exploit tender-hearted readers. But the real masters and mistresses of this ‘passionate’ genre are employed by the Guardian newspaper.

  7. David says:
    @Mike Zwick

    I have a theory about this that I may have lifted from someone else and that may be entirely wrong. It seems most animals can be bred for docility by selecting for youthful characteristics or vise versa. The famous fox example. I think some aspects of honkies’ brains have been selected never to grow up relative to those of our mestizo visitors. At all stages of development, our brains seem to have more curiosity and retention, but especially in adulthood ours retain more youthful curiosity and absorbency and theirs much less. I’m not a scientist who knows, it’s just an informed impression. White people keep learning new things much later in life than mestizos.

  8. @Jeff77450

    Fed and State governments make running an above-board business very expensive, then turn a blind eye when people flowing in from Meso-America undercut prices.

    One might almost wonder if the Newpaper of Walter Duranty is still rooting for the failure of capitalism.

    Oh, I get it!

    First, make it too expensive to employ Americans so manufacturers ship their work overseas.

    Next, open the border to everyone so the jobs that were left are soaked up by those willing to work either for a lot less money or “off the books.” We know, of course, the IRS is looking the other way because it’s not even trying to match tax remittances with SSN’s (which have to be bogus for illegals.)

    If this isn’t a grand conspiracy to put masses of multi-generation Americans out of work, it surely is a reasonable facsimile.

    • Agree: Jeff77450
    • Replies: @jtgw
  9. @Jeff77450

    (What happens when you feed a stray cat? It never leaves.)

    What does welfare do?

    100 years ago if you emigrated to the USA and failed, you starved. That was a mighty selection process in favor of capability.

    Now, millions stream into the USA and Europe secure in the knowledge that the hand-outs for the local ne’er-do-well’s will be just as available to them. Hell, schools will literally FIRE an English-speaking teacher to make room for a bi-lingual teacher, all because Jorge and Juanita are crowding their classrooms.

    The dumbest, least-able people are streaming in. No wonder they can’t learn English.

    I’ve an idea. No welfare (of any kind, including free treatment at ER’s) for *anyone* who hasn’t been in the country for at least 5 years AND is here legally (citizen or on a visa.)

    Talk about self-deporting. Why is this even controversial?

    • Replies: @Jeff77450
    , @Travis
    , @Reg Cæsar
  10. Given how the Obama Admin has tried to stop deportations, I wonder how much effort the NYT columnists had to invest to find someone who was actually deported.

    We keep hearing about rapists, robbers and armies of people guilty of vehicular manslaughter while OWI who are simply let out of jail, much less deported.

    Then again, perhaps the columnists studied at the Rolling Stone Academy of Journalism. It may be a lot easier for them (as Leftists) to swat up handkerchief-soaking fiction than to report Hatefact.

  11. He could have attained his citizenship in 15 years.

  12. Jeff77450 says:

    For some reason “the system” won’t let me click on “agree” but those are valid points very well said. Many thanx.

  13. Ivy says:

    Not a fan of NYT or Slim.
    However, read up on WHINSEC and predecessor influences throughout Central America to appreciate more the rise of MS-13 and related gangs.

  14. Mr. D fails to make the obvious connection: Either these illegal immigrants stay in Mexico (or Honduras) and demand just government from oligarchs such as Mr. Slim, or they come here where our tax dollars support them.

    For Mr. Slim (and his ilk), it is a convenient arrangement. For American blue-collar workers and trade entrepreneurs, it sucks.

  15. Travis says:

    need to end Food Stamps and other welfare programs for all non-citizens , even legal immigrants should be prohibited from collecting welfare benefits. Welfare should be for our citizens only.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  16. @Jefferson

    Can you imagine if an American immigrant lived in The Dominican Republic for 27 years and still was not fluent in Spanish.

    That’s actually fairly likely. Forget fluency. Few people become fluent, as in able to converse fluidly about politics, music and science by osmosis. I can tell you that I know of plenty of people who have been abroad and can’t speak more than a few dozen phrases in the local lingo, and frankly don’t know anyone who wasn’t a linguist who is fluent in the local patois. And even the linguists are only fluent by foreigner standards.

  17. @Jeff77450

    I wish them no ill but no, they shouldn’t be granted amnesty. “We” did that in the 1980s for millions of them and what was the end-result? A lot more illegal-aliens.

    From a practical standpoint, they are jacking up home prices, which makes it a lot more expensive for your kids or grandkids to buy homes. Given how buying a home is the major expense in family formation, that’s an excellent reason to prevent them from coming over.

  18. WGG [AKA "World\'s Greatest Grandson"] says:

    Mr. Derbyshire,

    I had a thought about your tribe of Englishmen and why, first among all nations, they insist on flooding your/their homeland with third-world savages. Contrary to the insipid trope of the “dull” Englishman, I think the English are probably the most creative and artistic people who have lived since at least the Roman Empire, maybe longer. From all the creative-thinking scientists, to the poets, writers, musicians, philosophers. Maybe their artistic natures drive them to seek a new muse over security or fidelity. I don’t know how inspirational rapey Pakistanis are, but maybe they will take what they can get (or are handed by the NWO government?) Especially since it seems the arts have been stagnating in Britain for over a decade, they may be desperate for inspiration.

    Even your own writing is multi-dimensional with ravenous interest in random topics like the American Civil War, China, mid-level mathematics, immigration, etc. It seems to me you have an artist’s brain, too.

    • Replies: @5371
    , @Blobby5
  19. It’s so funny how the NYT’s readers, in the comments, are disparaging the multiculturalism that the newspaper espouses. Either these readers represent a vocal minority or the NYT is going to lose a lot of readers, if it hasn’t already.

  20. 5371 says:

    [I had a thought about your tribe of Englishmen and why, first among all nations, they insist on flooding your/their homeland with third-world savages.]

    That’s easy. They (not Derbyshire personally) despise the working classes but can’t admit it, so they work to undermine them in a dishonest, underhand way.

  21. Blobby5 says:

    Well said! Derb is the greatest. I listen multiple times to his archived podcasts (podbay and vdare) and am truly amazed at his erudition. I hope this comment makes it past the moderator.

  22. jtgw says:

    Yeah, I thought that comment in particular helped to illustrate how the real problem is over-regulation. Why should that contractor have to spend so much more money simply to stay legal? I appreciate the concerns about the costs of immigration, but I think Derb has been focusing too much on the symptom of the problem, rather than the cause. E.g. if we did deport all illegal immigrants, while leaving the rest of the regulatory apparatus intact, we would simply drive up the costs of services and products formerly produced by those immigrants, not to mention the expense of rounding up all the illegals in the first place. Maybe we should turn our focus instead on reducing regulation at home and bring jobs back to Americans that way.

  23. “[I]f we did deport all illegal immigrants, while leaving the rest of the regulatory apparatus intact, we would simply drive up the costs of services and products formerly produced by those immigrants, not to mention the expense of rounding up all the illegals in the first place.”

    My dear jtgw, I’m afraid you’ve overlooked the massive cost burdens that immigrants – both legal and illegal immigrants – impose heavily upon us Americans:

    1) Immigrants are disproportionately on welfare, often out to their fifth generation, and the present unwise and much-abused immigration policy of “family reunification” increases this disproportion

    2) Immigrants’ mere presence in their scores of millions relentlessly drives up home prices and apartment rents, and this is as true for high-income Chinese buyers of real estate who vastly inflate the cost of high-end properties as it is of low-income immigrants driving up apartment rents

    3) Immigrants’ mere presence depresses wages so severely that Americans’ wages have been stagnant or declining since 1970

    4) Immigrants’ mere presence in taking jobs drives Americans out of the workforce – now at a record proportion – and drives those Americans onto welfare, and this is as true for immigrant STEM workers as it is for unskilled and low-skilled immigrants

    5) The mere presence of immigrants forms a powerful magnet for further immigrants

    6) Immigrants do not vote for trade protectionism, for Americans’ employment protection or opportunities, for U.S. sovereignty, or for probity in dispensing of welfare: in short, immigrants form a powerful impetus for higher taxes

    7) Immigrants form a higher domestic public safety and national security menace than Americans form; without that immigrant menace Americans would have to bear neither the exorbitant cost, nor the Bill of Rights-menacing obtrusiveness and intrusiveness of Government Police-Surveillance-Security State apparati, nor the higher costs of local policing

    8) Under today’s suicidal Multiculturalist lunacy, exacerbated by cheap mass media communications from and with their native lands and by cheap international airfare, immigrants today are no longer required or encouraged to assimilate (including linguistically and in terms of belief and values systems) into American society, thus forming a powerful atomizing solvent to American society and an increasingly atomizing low-trust antagonism throughout American society

    9) Immigrants form increasingly numerous and increasingly powerful political lobbies whose interests and demands are antagonistic or hostile to the interests and welfare of Americans; further, these immigrant political lobbies form a congeries of fifth columns which undermine U.S. foreign policy soft and hard power and instead hand undesirable foreign policy advantages to the foreign powers which are the immigrants’ native nation-states and to immigrants transnational ethnic-religious-linguistic-social blocs, and not just in the regime of nation-state foreign policy but also in the corrupt United Nations behemoth to whose anti-American imperatives much of present U.S. immigration policy is now unwisely subordinated.

    Now, my dear jtgw, do you get it? Domestic deregulation is anything but a panacea for America’s self-inflicted immigration disaster. In fact it’s highly likely that economic/industrial deregulation would actually stimulate or provoke higher rates of immigration. It’s arguable that following an end to immigration and a program of incentives to prompt immigrants to self-deport, deregulation would benefit Americans – yet certainly not before an immigration moratorium of no less than twenty years’ duration and those self-deportation incentives would have had their necessary desirable salubrious effects for Americans.

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @Reg Cæsar
  24. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    You suppose Goo Yuck Slimes will shut down its comment section? Many sites have done so already. Goo Yuck Slimes tightly moderate the comments, so I’m surprised that so many negative comments got through.

    These progs play dirty when it comes to national debates.

    They often declare victory by saying ‘We won the debate’ or ‘debate has been won’.

    But this is all bogus. Progs ‘win’ debates by simply ending them.

    Ending the Debate is Winning the Debate.

    It’s like Mao ending the Hundred Flowers Bloom Campaign and declaring victory for Mao-Marxism.

    For example, Michael Kingsley said the progs ‘won’ the debate on ‘gay marriage’.
    But where was the debate? Anyone who openly opposed the homo agenda was either suppressed by the media(controlled by Jews) or shut down(and threatened with destruction). And the Jewish-Homo-run media made the Westborough church the face of ‘opposition to gay agenda’.
    WB church, of course, offended both homos and patriots by protesting against military funerals.

    So, the debate was ended and then declared a ‘victory’.

    And we see how ‘debates’ are carried out in college. A climate of fear and intimidation is created and enforced for anyone who think differently.
    Remember the Chuck Hagel confirmation thing?

    Jonathan Haidt demonstrated at a high school recently that many students say nothing out of fear.
    How can there be any debate when one side feels such fear and when kids, from a young age, are inculcated with the nonsense that Jews, blacks, and homos are holy and must NEVER BE challenged?

    Or look at the black style of ‘debate’ in colleges. At official debates, they dance, holler, wallop, dance, and act like lunatics. They act like chimps and baboons trying to intimidate one another by show of wildass force. How can anyone win a genuine debate against such lunacy?

    And consider the ghastly negress at Yale whose idea of debate is screaming “YOU ARE DISGUSTING. SHUT UP!!!!”

    But I’m sure progs will tell us that she ‘won’ the debate because she ended it.

    Ending the debate is now ‘winning the debate’.

    How convenient for the Proglies.

  25. Cranky says:

    Deport them all. It will come down to that.

    And it will happen, because Americans are fed up with the social costs.

    And their kids can go with and show up when they are 18.

    It is amazing to see how things change, and not for the better.

    Those illegal Honduran Immigrants should go home and take back their country.

    It is theirs. They can do it, and drown those gangs in the blood they want to shed.

    If they so loved America, then make their own country work.

  26. Anon7 says:

    “Today’s Carlos Slim Times features a two-hanky sob story…’

    You mean the “Carlos Salim Haddad” New York Times, right?

  27. jtgw says:
    @Auntie Analogue

    A lot of your points display rather mercantilist assumptions about economics, so I’d just refer you to authors like Henry Hazlitt for an education. Even the stuff about driving down wages and driving up house prices is empirically dubious, and ignores the positive outcomes of immigration, i.e. lowers costs of goods and services. I don’t really want to argue with you about why protectionism is fallacious, so if we can’t even agree on that, we probably will not agree on why immigration in a free society is a boon. I’ll just ask you to consider whether some of the social and economic ills you point to might not possibly have causes outside immigration, e.g. easy money giving distorted market incentives, a sorry outcome of the Fed’s inflationary policy and monopoly on money creation.

    • Replies: @OutWest
    , @Reg Cæsar
  28. OutWest says:

    Immigration in a free society is definitely a good policy -if legal. Personally I find that the US has finite room, assets and environment. But, if the case can be made for select skills and such, it may be useful to further overload our assets. But the days of needing the dregs of other societies, particularly dregs that maintain the loser peon/patron system that made their homeland unattractive, are gone with the frontier.

  29. @Travis

    need to end Food Stamps…

    Tell that to the farmers.

  30. @Auntie Analogue

    You left out the part about not earning enough to pay income taxes. Hell, they get EITC bonuses.

  31. @dc.sunsets

    100 years ago if you emigrated to the USA and failed, you starved

    No, you went home. Many times more repatriated than starved to death.

  32. @jtgw

    ignores the positive outcomes of immigration, i.e. lowers costs of goods and services.

    How is the proliferation of dollar stores packed with dusty goods made by Communist slaves in China a “positive outcome”?

    And if immigration is such a boon, why do the academics, editors, businessmen, and politicians who support it refuse to live by those very immigrants? Go on, look up the address and census tract of any talking head and show me where I’m wrong.

    Why do the immigrants have to live in my neighborhood?

  33. jtgw says:

    Because it costs you less than the domestic stuff? Or you want to force fellow Americans to spend more on the same quality to save domestic production? By spending less on foreign goods, people have more to spend on other things.

  34. jtgw says:

    As for immigration, a road built for half the price with coolie labor saves you money, too.

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