If you have any doubt that the United States is being invaded by another country, that many of the invaders are criminals, and that the United States government is not protecting its citizens — then consider the bizarre case of Miguel Padilla in Altoona, Pa.
The 25-year-old construction worker, likely drunk and unhappy for being denied admission to the United Veterans Association club, went back to his car to get a handgun and killed the building’s owner and two others in cold blood. This all happened on August 28 and has gotten little attention outside Altoona. That needs to change.
The Padilla murder case is a textbook example of illegal entry, questionable documents, criminal activity and near-complete inaction on the part of governmental agencies that could have deported him before anyone was killed.
Follow-up stories in the Altoona Mirror show how dysfunctional enforcement agencies can be. The police insisted that he was an illegal alien and charged him with a firearm violation in addition to the murders because, as an illegal, he was not allowed to possess a gun. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) also said he was illegal. But others questioned that. After all, Padilla had been in the country since he was 3 or 9 depending on the source, he was an honor student in high school, and had all his documents including a driver’s license and a social security card.
ICE also said it would deport Padilla, and that outraged Blair County District Attorney David Gorman, who said it was too little too late. It would have been “highly beneficial” said the DA, if ICE had acted BEFORE the county’s first triple homicide.
Indeed. One look at Padilla’s criminal record prior to the murders, and you don’t have to be a DA to wonder why the federal government never acted.
District attorneys in Blair and Cambria Counties said they had contacted ICE more than once to question Padilla’s status and each time they were told not to worry. After all, Padilla was married, had a work permit, and other documents — but how he got them, no one seems to know. And when Padilla went before Judge Gerald Long on a firearms violation, the judge just fined him $500 and did not revoke his probation.
But ICE never seemed concerned with any of this or any of the rest of Padilla’s brushes with the law.
In 2005 he was named as an alleged drug trafficker, but was never charged. He had been arrested in December 2004 for domestic violence. In November, he was cited with two firearms violations. In July 2003, he fought with police after a car crash and had been cited earlier that same day for careless driving and disorderly conduct. In October 2001 he was charged with stabbing a friend seven times during a fight. He was later accused of violating probation. In July 2001, he was accused of striking a man in the head with a beer bottle.
It took a triple homicide to get the attention of the federal government. The Mirror reports that ICE refused to comment on when it may have first known that Padilla was an illegal alien, or whether he could have been detained on his illegal status alone.
The latest on this case is that Padilla will NOT be deported; the Mexican Consulate will assist him as it does with all of its Mexican national criminals in the United States; and Padilla could face the death penalty.
That would be a measure of justice. But that would not bring back Alfred Mignogna, Fred Rickabaugh and Stephen Heiss. They are dead — just as dead as Jenny Garcia Hayden in Austin at the hands of David Diaz Morales and Dallas police officer Brian Jackson, shot down by a drunken Juan Lizcano. Both of these men, like Padilla, were in this country illegally and well known to authorities due to long criminal records.
How many more cases such as this are there, you ask? No one knows; in fact, the government seems to make it a point not to keep such statistics. So when a case emerges such as that of Miguel Padilla, the best we can do is see that it gets as much publicity as possible in the hope that the government may some day be shamed into enforcing its own laws.