How Many People Have to Die by the Hands of Illegal Immigrants to Warrant Further Action?

“Prosecutor Ryan Lindberg in court on Tuesday requested a high bail for the illegal immigrant because he feared the man might flee the country again.”

Last week, Garcia-Velasco, an illegal immigrant who illegally entered the United States from Mexico seven times, was driving drunk and speeding down a Nebraska highway when he crashed his van, killing a passenger sitting in the back of the vehicle.

This occurred around 1PM on July 5th — he lost control of his 2001 Dodge Ram van as he headed west on Interstate 80 near the Interstate 680 split. The van was going over 100 mph, when it hit a guardrail and a bridge abutment before it rolled and caught fire.

In court on Tuesday, Douglas County Nebraska prosecutors said Nemias Garcia-Velasco, 32, was deported in 2009 and 2011 and “voluntarily returned” to Mexico five times in 2005.  He was convicted of making a false claim to U.S. citizenship in 2005.

Garcia-Velasco’s bail was set at $2 million.  Prosecutor Ryan Lindberg in court on Tuesday requested a high bail for the illegal immigrant because he feared the man might flee the country again.  “If this is someone who bonds out, I don’t think we’ll see Mr. Garcia-Velasco again,” Lindberg said.

Lindberg’s has good reason to fear Velasco would disappear once out on bail.  In a local case from early 2016, Eswin Mejia, a now-21-year-old man from Honduras who was in the U.S. illegally, was charged with motor vehicle homicide and drunken driving. Authorities say the pickup truck he was driving collided with a SUV driven by 21-year-old Sarah Root of Council Bluffs, fatally injuring her.  Mejia posted 10 percent, or $5,000 of his $50,000 bail set by Douglas County Judge Jeff Marcuzzo.  Mejia, however, disappeared and is still being searched for.

In the Garcia-Velasco case, Silvano Torres, 58, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt while riding in the back of the van, died in the crash. Torres had documents to be in the U.S., and he was a father of two girls and a boy.  Another passenger, Jesus I. Gonzalez, 16, was hospitalized and released later that day.

Garcia-Velasco later told police he drank twelve beers into the early morning of the crash. His blood-alcohol level was at .243, three times the legal limit of .08.

These type of cases, as well as others, prompted the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a measure called “Sarah’s Law”. It requires federal immigration officials to take custody of any person who is in the country illegally and charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.  It was part of a broader bill aimed at cracking down on sanctuary jurisdictions.  The House also approved another bill to help combat the problem with illegal immigration — “Kate’s Law.”  Kate’s Law would enhance penalties for people who re-enter the country illegally and require mandatory jail time.

Jon Harris

Jon Harris is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and former Army NCO, Sergeant Morales Club member, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with over 30 years in the law enforcement community. He is published in Army Trainer Magazine, authored regular columns in several newspapers, and is the author of the Cold War novel Breakpoint. His adventures as a security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq can be found on He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics and an M.S. in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his Juris Doctor degree.

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