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The Jamiel Shaw case in the light of Secure Communities

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Yesterday May 10, 2012 Pedro Espinoza, was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of 17-year-old high school football player Jamiel Shaw II. Espinoza, now 23, is an illegal alien who had been released from prison the day before he shot Shaw.

The crime occurred in March 2008 three doors down from the victim’s home in Los Angeles. According to the prosecution, Espinoza targeted Shaw because Shaw had a red (Spiderman) backpack and Espinoza thought his victim was a member of a rival gang. Espinoza belongs to 18th St. gang.

Under the federal program Secure Communities that started in 2008, Pedro Espinoza should have been deported to his native country after serving his sentence for his previous crime.

Secure Communities is a program implemented by President Bush’s administration and expanded by President Obama. This program requires state and local police to share fingerprint information with immigration authorities (ICE) to identify and deport dangerous criminals.

In the last three years thousands of people have been deported under this program, half of them do not fall under the category of “dangerous criminals”, As a result many pro-immigrant groups, and ACLU have asked state and federal governments to suspend the program.

Even Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villarraigosa wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking him to suspend California’s participation in the federal program.

If Secure Communities is closed or if California suspends its participation in the program, how many more innocent victims, like Jamiel Shaw, will there be?

The case obtained attention, not as much as the Trayvon Martin case, because it was of different races, but there are hundreds Hispanic victims of criminals who are in the country illegally, but because it is Hispanic on Hispanic crime it does not get the attention of the media or the so called community leaders.

Next week, Jurors will decide if Espinoza should receive the death penalty.

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