Who's to blame for America's broken immigration system?
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Triston Smith was 12 years old in 2015 when he was the victim of a hit-and-run, left badly bloodied and injured. His mother Freda Stewart was outraged when the suspect, who initially fled the scene, was let out of jail on a $2,500 bond.
That suspect, Juan Miguel-Juan, then fled the state and didn’t show up in court.
He wasn’t arrested again until March of this year, despite being an illegal immigrant.
“I don’t want someone else to get a phone call and arrive at an accident scene like I did where you can’t even recognize your child for all the blood,” said Stewart.
Mark Krikorian, executive director for the conservative Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, said the suspect should have never been released, but added his story is one repeated all the time.
“The drunk driver in Illinois who ran off after being given this laughable bail is the kind of thing that's happening all over the country,” said Krickorian in an interview Tuesday.
In Maryland, Kim and Sherman Owens’ daughter Jasmine was killed by an illegal immigrant drunk driver in 2011. Jose Salmoran, convicted of the crime, had 23 prior traffic and misdemeanor convictions.
"If he had been arrested and deported at the time, we wouldn’t be sitting here,” said Kim.
“I feel let down by the system,” Sherman added.
That system, said Krickorian, should be changed.
“What's most outrageous is when, is illegal immigrant is in the custody of the government is let go, because that is actually the partly the responsibility of the government," he said.
But others say the federal government crackdown has gone too far with reports of tens of thousands of new arrests of undocumented immigrants under the Donald Trump administration.
Still, despite tough talk on the matter by President Trump, even top officials admit they can't fix the problem alone.
"We have to figure it out and I blame that squarely on the United States Congress," Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."