Saturday, June 25, 2005

Prosecute the Real Criminals

Susana Jose, 18, who was smuggled into the U.S. from Guatemala in March of this year, hanged herself from a mango tree June 20th at her parents Boynton Beach, Florida, home. The smugglers, Regino Sanchez and Ricardo Jose Contreras, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and transporting 17 illegal aliens, including Susana. They face up to 20 years in prison.

Conspiracy? Yes, but consider who was behind this conspiracy to violate immigration and other laws: Susana's parents.

Ana Miquel and Mateo Jose left their oldest daughter behind in Guatemala years ago when they illegally entered the U.S. They had eight more children here in the U.S., the oldest now 16. After all these years, they solicited and hired smugglers to illegally transport Susana through Mexico and across the U.S. border. They paid traffickers $2,756 to smuggle her into the U.S. and agreed to pay another $2,500 for her transport from the border to Lantana, FL.

When they claimed couldn't pay the balance as agreed at a Lantana mall, the smugglers drove off with Susana. Miguel Jose called the police and falsely claimed his daughter had been kidnapped. His story quickly unraveled.

Ana Miquel and Mateo Jose are the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes here. They are the ones who abandoned their child for most of her life. They illegally entered the U.S. They solicited, hired, conspired with and paid members of an organized crime ring to smuggle their daughter into the U.S. They knowingly subjected their daughter to the dangers of an illegal border crossing in the company of people they knew to be criminals. They agreed that, if the smugglers successfully got the girl into the States, they would then pay an additional sum for her illegal transport across the U.S. They filed a false police report when they failed to pay the accomplices they hired to help them commit multiple crimes.

Prosecute all the criminals involved in this case. Those smugglers were solicited, hired and paid by the criminal masterminds behind this smuggling. The parents should be charged under RICO for criminal conspiracy with people they knew to be members of an organized crime ring. They should be charged with child abandonment for leaving their child. They should be charged with reckless endangerment for intentionally putting her in harm's way in the hands of criminals. They should be charged with filing a false police report when they claimed their daughter had been "kidnapped." They should be charged for their initial crime of illegally entering the U.S. themselves -- and should have been convicted and deported before they committed such additional crimes against their own child.

Yes, the smugglers deserve 20 years for their crimes. But so do the parents who would so cruelly treat their child. Charge them, convict them, and deport them.


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