Criminal Justice

Houston's Illegal Immigrants Get One More Reason Not to Talk to Cops


Houston police are struggling with the effects of a federal mandate that forces jails to check on the immigration status of detainees. Predictably enough, it has left a lot of people scared to talk to law enforcement, even when they have been the victims of a crime. Beat cops and other officers aren't required to inquire about immigration status, but the new rule makes people in the country illegally even more nervous about bringing official attention to themselves. The Houston Chronicle gives a tragic example of the unintended consequence of the federal rule:

For [Homicide Sgt. Brian] Harris, this recent case in southwest Houston held a particularly rough lesson in witness cooperation. Just days before the Jan. 1 homicide near Stella Link and the 610 Loop, the 18-year-old victim's brother had spotted a break-in at a townhouse across the street.

The brother, an illegal immigrant, didn't call police to report the Dec. 27 burglary, Harris said, even though he recognized the suspect, a drifter known around the neighborhood….

That same drifter is now the prime suspect in the killing of that witness's brother, 18-year-old Uvaldo Gallardo, and the shooting of his other brother, 25-year-old Hugo Gallardo, whose spinal cord was severed by the bullet, leaving him paralyzed.

But there was another twist, Harris said: The handgun used in the shootings — a .40-caliber Glock — had been stolen in the townhouse burglary. …

The sergeant said it took the help of the dead teenager's brother and friends to help locate witnesses, who eventually offered up Leandro Lozano-Jiminez, the drifter.

In the meantime, Harris said, Lozano-Jiminez made it safely to Michoacan, Mexico, and remains a fugitive.

Since Houston partnered with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Secure Communities program to run automated immigration checks on all detainees, members of Houston's immigrant communities have been increasingly reluctant to speak with the police. Getting local law enforcement involved in enforcing immigration laws might seem like a good way to supplement ICE's limited—compared to the scope of illegal immigration in the United States—resources, but it seems clear that in very concrete ways, the requirement is making Houston less safe.

For more on the link, or lack thereof, between immigration and crime, see Steve Chapman's "Immigration and Crime."


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  1. “Wiimote-Controlled Robot Drum Circle Makes Human Hippies Obsolete”–headline, Popular Science Web site, Feb. 19…..s-obsolete

  2. Good evening (afternoon to y’all Westerners) Reason!

    I’d prefer the criminal get killed but hey, at least he self-deported

  3. Was it the requirement that made the city less safe, or the brother who didn’t call the cops, and ended up with one brother paralyzed and the other dead? The requirement is about immigration status of detainees, not of people who report crimes. If the illegal immigrant is too frightened or dim to understand the difference, who’s fault is that?

    1. who’s = whose

      1. Not in my dictionary.

    2. Maybe he had pot. Or a warrant for a seatbelt ticket. Or just a “don’t taze me bro” face. It gets to a point where, unless you have no other choice, you’re just better off avoiding the fuckers.

  4. Let me see if I got this straight – when China floods Tibet with immigrants, it’s tyranny, and when cosmotarians flood America with immigrants, it’s liberty…

    Um, yeah… got it!

  5. I call bullshit. The illegal community knows HPD will only check if the illegals get detained. You only get detained by getting arrested. So they must all be awfully afraid of getting arrested. Given HPD’s notorious aversion to doing paperwork, they’re only going to arrest someone if they’ve done something. HPD isn’t going to arrest people for being hispanic. If the illegals don’t want to talk to the cops, it’s because they think they’ll get arrested, which means they think they’re guilty of something besides being an illegal.

    1. Nice circular logic, T.

      So they must all be awfully afraid of getting arrested.

      Dude, I avoid any interaction with the cops for any reason at all costs, and I’m white and a citizen. If you think illegals shouldn’t be afraid of the police, even if you’re right, they’re still going to be.

  6. Dude, I work in a manufacturing plant on Houston’s east side. We have illegals walk in the door and apply for jobs with fake documents. You’d think if they were so afraid of the man, they might not do stupid shit like give us their address and then a fake social. In general, they’re not afraid of the cops.

    And Epi, you avoid the cops for the same reason I do: being a mouthy bastard to some guy with a gun is never smart, and you ain’t sure you can resist the temptation.

    1. And I’ve known illegal immigrants who were afraid to go out on the town at night for fear of getting picked up. I’m sure it varies from town to town, but if you have something riding on it (the guys I knew had come all the way to CT to work for a few years, make money for their families, and then go back to Mexico), you are going to be much more careful. Some dude in Houston, if he gets deported, isn’t far away from just trying to get back in again. So they’re probably more cavalier.

  7. T, are you assuming the addresses are correct?

  8. See this Houston Chronicle to see why this is a good thing. This series of articles ignited a firestorm in Houston. People were being raped and murdered by illegals who had already been arrested by Houston police and should have been deported to Mexico.

    Thank you Reason, you make it so easy.

    Thousands of inmates admit they’re in the U.S. illegally, but even those convicted of violent crimes are often released right back onto Houston’s streets

    1. I see your point. ICE should take far more care in not letting the material felons it actually has convicted and in custody go free.

      Yet another reason for them not to spend their limited resources on economic migrants.

      1. What’s great about having an uncontrolled border with one of the most crime-ridden and corrupt countries in the world is you don’t get to pick who comes here: You get the criminals, the pregnant women ready for a lifetime of leeching off our social services, and the economic migrants. A perfect system I must say.

  9. I know that Pussy is Hairy

  10. Our Federal Government and homeland Security have left us down big time. Why are they not ENFOCING the law? I don’t think Janet Flintstone has a clue on what to do to enforce the law. OK, they are going after the employers. What about the illegal aliens working the jobs? Why aren’t they arrested, their family rounded up and all deported?

    If our Federal Government would get E-Verify in ALL businesses and check ALL employees, we could get the illegal aliens out of those jobs and put an American in the job. Put E-Verify in ALL Social Services including schools, and get the ALL the illegal aliens off these programs they are NOT entitled to.

    I for one am sick and tired of these illegal aliens snubbing their nose at our laws. GET RID OF THEM!

    1. I hope the Federal Government will go after people with multiple typos and spelling errors.

      1. billy-jay[sic] , then who would we get to play with?

  11. Any chance the illegal immigrant might not have felt reluctant to talk to the police about a crime he witnessed if he had been in HIS OWN COUNTRY? Why should we weep for alien invaders of our nation if law enforcement procedures make them timorous? Expel them all!

  12. This happened right around the corner from me, in an apartment complex I drive past every day. My husband doesn’t like me jogging in our (very safe, almost crime-free) neighborhood after dark. The complex is literally on the other side – the wrong side – of the train tracks, and none of that shit ever goes down in our neighborhood.

    Houston’s lack of zoning makes for a really weird city. We don’t have big swaths of bad neighborhoods, ritzy neighborhoods and middle class neighborhoods. It’s all mixed in together. My neighborhood of houses in the 200K to 400K range rang is two blocks away from Section 8 housing, and three blocks from there is another neighborhood like mine, followed by a neighborhood of $1M McMansions, with gas stations and tacquerias and grocery stores on every block in between.

    I have nothing insightful to offer, just thought I’d mention that.

    1. I am looking at houses in the Third Ward, and the mix of residences/junkpiles in vacant lots/apartments is astounding.

      Of course, several of every variety of store in the world are minutes away from my Galleria-area apartment, which is a serious benefit of no zoning.

  13. Never talk to the cops under any circumstances.

  14. Good one intern.

  15. You mean people doing something illegal might not want to talk to the police? Who would have thought it?

  16. What is the argument here? every single alien “BROKE THE LAW!” Our Government, past & present, Republican & Democrat, have allowed the invasion of 20 to 30 million criminals and uneducated peons which is the largest invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means & in direct violation of Article IV, Section IV of our Constitution.

    This refusal to abide by our Constitution or enforce our Immigration Laws should be classified as Treason of the most foul kind, & as grounds for impeachment & trials for Treason!

    Not only have they allowed the invasion, they force American tax payers to pay Billions on Billions of dollars to provide Welfare, Prison cells, Educate the invaders numerous children, and free medical care, at the same time the invading horde break numerous laws and massive document fraud, & are destroying our schools, hospitals, communities, culture and standard of living while Robbing, Raping, Killing & Assaulting American Citizens WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    1. Edmund: As you know, today we face the gravest crisis this country has known since the Roman invasion.
      Lord 1: What about the Viking invasion?
      Lord 2: …and the Norman invasion?
      Angus: …and the Swiss invasion?
      Edmund: Er, well, the greatest crisis for some time.
      Lord 2: And we all know why!
      Edmund: Why?
      Angus: Because the King is possessed!
      Edmund: What?!
      Lord 2: True! True! The land is full of omens of bewitchment. Only last week in Cornwall, a man with four heads was seen taking tea on the beach; and two women in Windsor claimed to have been raped by a fish!
      Lord 1: I, too, have heard such tales. In Harrigate, it rained phlegm; and they do say that, in Edinburgh, the graves did open and the ghosts of our ancestors rose up and competed in athletic sport!

  17. I thought I read recently on this very sight about how safe I should feel with all the illegals around LMAO. Usually I side with 80+ % of the folks here but when it comes to illegals I think it is a lose/lose situation.

  18. all this crime will only increase as the recession in mexico and our depression gets worse here. we are sleeping with the enemy. as long as we give them food stamps and wic,medicaid and keep making automatic citizens of their children they will keep on coming and coming untill there is a civil war because these people would rather die than go back to their countries. just watch a civil war is coming and the illegals will be fighting us


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