Your news, sports and entertainment leader for Evangeline Parish, La.

WEST: Parish residents deserve justice too

Article Image Alt Text

By: ELIZABETH WEST
Associate Editor

There is a man by the name of Arturo Velazques that has crossed the border between the United States and Mexico multiple times illegally. That man chose to make Evangeline Parish his home, and an American citizen helped him do it.
Velazques came to this country illegally around the age of 15, and after being deported twice he still manages to be living here at the age of 31 not only as an illegal immigrant, but now also as an alleged murderer.
Two months ago Velazques was arrested for vehicular homicide after being involved in a fatal car crash in the Reddell area on La. Highway 13 that left 31-year-old Evangeline Parish resident Dustin Vidrine dead. Velazques was also drunk when he crossed the center line and took another human being’s life in the early morning hours of September 18, 2016.
As I began to read court transcripts from a hearing where the Evangeline Parish District Attorney’s Office was requesting to have Velazques held without bond instead of having him deported, I found myself asking, Why? Why are they fighting to keep this man here?
My thoughts were, this man doesn’t deserve to have clothes on his back, three meals a day, and a roof over his head that is paid for by my tax dollars. Especially when he has done nothing but take from our country, our state, our parish, and our communities. Now he has even taken an American life on our own country’s soil and he must pay for that crime here.
I tried to tell myself that being deported back to Mexico should be his punishment, but I eventually realized deportation would merely be a slap on the wrist for this guy and a complete insult to the victim’s family because he’d still be free. Like the District Attorney stated, “To allow him to escape justice by returning to freedom in his home country of Mexico would be an injustice to the victim, his family and all other Americans who must abide by our country’s law.”
This illegal immigrant would be living more free than the Evangeline Parish resident and American citizen that was sentenced to 17 years in prison last January for committing the same exact crime. Tell me now, how is that justice?
When I realized this, I finally saw the DA’s point. We cannot let this man be deported yet, but if he bonds out of jail that could possibly happen. If he is deported then we will probably never be able to get this man back here to be prosecuted, and like one of the assistant district attorneys said, “he will slip through the cracks.”
I also believe that after some time back in Mexico, Velazques would eventually try to make his way back into this country. He might not come back to Evangeline Parish, but none-the-less he’d be back in our country.
Remember, Trump’s wall isn’t up yet and border security hasn’t gotten any stronger either. This man has already successfully crossed the border twice so this mission will be one that he is familiar with and very capable of completing.
He has been cheating our system for years, and he shouldn’t get the chance to cheat it again by escaping the prosecution that you and I would face if we were accused of the same crime.
The only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to either hold Velazques without bond or increase his bond until his trial. Only after serving his sentence should he be deported back to Mexico, and hopefully Trump’s wall will be up or our borders will be more secure by then to make sure that Velazques and others like him can never enter this country illegally again.
He needs to be forced to follow our country’s laws when it comes to living in the United States, and when it comes to entering it.
However, we don’t only need the wall to keep people from illegally entering our country, but also to keep our own people from reaping the benefits of what I and other Americans pay for while they sit back and give much less.
The DA’s office made the risky decision to file the motion to hold Velazques without bond, and it’s clear to me now that it was the right one. However, I hope the DA doesn’t forget that someone in this parish provided Velazques with the capability of even having a life in Evangeline Parish. They gave Velazques a job which gave him a reason to stay here. What happened to Dustin can almost be considered a direct result of decisions that Velazques’s employer made.
I’ll never believe that the employer deserves to be prosecuted like a murderer, but he should be held accountable for the part he played in this tragic situation.
If this man was here illegally then I am left wondering if he and his employer have paid their taxes. If they haven’t, then that is fraud and that has affected us all.
We nailed Rebecca Devillier to the cross when she stole our tax dollars from the sheriff’s office, and to me, if Velazques’s employer was aware of the fact that his worker was here illegally then what he as has done may be just as bad.
They possibly allowed an illegal immigrant to take a job from someone that is here legally, and someone that would be putting money back into our system. They assisted this immigrant in earning American dollars that could have been tax dollars in our country only for it to be sent back to Mexico to Velazques’s family. Those tax dollars might have fixed that hole you hit while driving that busted your tire, or that money could have helped pay for better drainage, which would have been beneficial to have during the flood that happened this year. Those tax dollars may have even helped give our teachers a bigger bonus check.
If Velazques deserves to pay for his crime, then why shouldn’t his employer?
I don’t think I believe jail time is necessary, but some sort of fines would be justified if his employer knew that Velazques should have not been here.
Our justice system works to bring justice to victims, and as far as I am concerned, every single person that does their part is a victim in this situation and we deserve to have justice served.
It is against the law to hire an undocumented immigrant, and hiring them is one thing that contributes to the poor financial state that we find our country, state, and parish in today. We pay more taxes because we have people that keep from paying their’s and it’s not right.
I agree with the district attorney saying that it would be an injustice to the victim, his family and all other Americans if Velazques escaped justice, but I also know that if the employer does not face criminal charges then that will be an injustice as well.

Our website requires visitors to log in to view the best local news from Evangeline Parish. Not yet a subscriber? Subscribe today!