In San Francisco's Excelsior district on June 22, 48-year old Tony Bologna and his sons were shot after Bologna inadvertently and temporarily blocked the progress of a Chrysler 300M containing three occupants. Bologna's Honda Civic, heading in the opposite direction of the Chrysler, inadvertently blocked the path of the Chrysler that was trying to turn north onto Congdon from Maynard Street. Bologna, a volunteer youth basketball and baseball coach, was shot as he backed his Honda Civic up so the Chrysler could complete the turn. Bologna was killed outright at the site, as was his 20-year old son Matthew. Son Michael, age 16, died a few days later as a consequence of his injuries. Tony Bologna is survived by his wife Danielle, and a son and daughter.
By July 26, SF police had arrested Edwin Ramos, age 21, of El Sobrante, a nearby East Bay city. Ramos is a known MS-13 gang member, tattoos and red shirts and all, born in El Salvador and in the United States illegally. Ramos was arrested after a tip from another man who was arrested on unrelated charges who offered up Ramos' name.
Apparently Ramos has had plenty of run-ins with SF police in his checkered past. His first run-in was in at the age of 17 in October 2003, when he and a pair of his gang cronies assaulted an individual on a Muni bus. He should have been deported then—SF's first chance to save itself a lot of grief. But San Francisco is a sanctuary city, and the juvenile Ramos was not turned over to ICE for deportation. Instead, he was convicted in juvenile court on charges of assault and participating in a street gang, and sent to a shelter as part of its sanctuary city policy.
A bit about sanctuary cities. In the state of California, SF, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego are all sanctuary cities. The term is non-binding one, but it prohibits law enforcement and government officials from inquiring about an individual's immigration status. SF has been a sanctuary city since 1989 thanks to a genius vote by the ultra-liberal SF Board of Supervisors (affectionately called the "Board of Stupes" by many SF residents).
SF of course takes this one step farther, and will not turn over the names of undocumented juvenile offenders. The reason for this is that conviction of a felony could jeopardize their potential status as a legal resident, and ultimately a bit for citizenship. The juvenile offenders are shipped off to group homes outside of SF at a cost of millions to taxpayers. On the rare occasion an underage illegal arrested for a crime other than being undocumented was deported from SF, said criminal was escorted home with a juvenile officer via commercial flight, usually to El Salvador or Honduras.
Recently—around the time he announced he was considering running for governor of the state of California, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom put an end to the group home and flights home policies. In June, 12 undocumented Honduran juveniles were arrested for selling crack cocaine. Rather than putting these criminals through the criminal justice system or deporting them back to Honduras, they were packed up at the cost of $7000 a month and sent to group homes in the cities Visalia and Atascadero and in San Bernardino county. All 12 have walked away from those homes, and 10 are still on the run.
Best part of the juvenile offender deal—age was self-reported. So it didn't matter if the arrestee had a beard or looked 30—if he said he was under 18, so be it.
Back to Edwin Ramos. SF had a second try at doing the right thing for the citizens of SF by deporting him after yet another felony conviction, this time for assaulting a pregnant woman in 2004, four days after he was released from the group home to the custody of his mother (whose immigration status has not been revealed; she left Edwin as an infant in the care of his grandmother in El Salvador). Ramos and two other men approached the woman from behind in the middle of the day, with Ramos attempting to pull her backpack-style purse off of her. When the woman's brother intervened, Ramos punched him and fled. The man found a police officer and pointed out Ramos, who a month later was convicted as a juvenile of attempted robbery (felony) but cleared of assault (huh?). This time he was sent to a camp from June 2004 to February 2005.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, federal authorities finally learned Ramos wasn't in the U.S. legally after he turned 18 after he applied for temporary residency status. He was turned down, and at that time was considered deportable. Naturally, he found himself an American citizen to marry and now has an anchor baby daughter, 11 months of age today.
Third time's a charm? Nope. In March, Ramos was pulled over because his car had illegally tinted windows and no front license plate. An occupant of the car tried to discard a gun which was later linked to a double killing. The police report cited numerous documented contacts with Ramos and the man who discarded the gun, and both are known members of MS-13.
SF District Attorney Kamala Harris, who was elected on a platform of "no death penalty ever" elected NOT to prosecute Ramos at that time because it could not be proven he knew his passenger had the gun.
At the time of the third arrest, the comedy of errors continues as the SF Sheriff's office checked an ICE database and learned Ramos was deportable. The SF Sheriff's office claims to have corresponded with ICE about Ramos; ICE says they were sent an inquiry hours after Ramos had been released (the passenger who dumped the gun was held as deportable).
Today we have Edwin Ramos in jail in San Francisco, held for the murder of Tony Bologna and his sons. Special circumstances have been tacked onto the case and it could be a death penalty case, but of course Kamala Harris is hemming and hawing and not talking about it.
(Before I go any farther, please remember that Gavin Newsom is exploring a run for the governor of California and Kamala Harris is said to be in consideration for a Cabinet post—Attorney General—should Obama be elected president.)
And all of this grief and heartache is because the government of a city declared itself a sanctuary city and a federal government did not come down on this sanctuary city and withhold funds for whatever purpose. Doesn't federal law usurp state law—and remember that the sanctuary city status is non-binding?
I am not anti-immigrant or anti-Latino. I am the daughter of a German immigrant who married my father in Germany and came to the U.S pregnant with me (my great-grandfather was born in Ireland). I also grew up in a farming family, where my dad always had irrigators and tractor drivers who didn't have the correct "papers," but who were hard working and as honest as the day is long, except for the lack of a green card. I have friends who are undocumented and one, a college student who is also a cancer survivor, who goes so far as to not drive or take a job with false documents because she is afraid it will jeopardize her quest for a green card. I am not suggesting we round up every undocumented person and "send 'em back to where they came from." But I do believe the United States does have laws in place that allow for deportation of those illegals who flaunt their middle fingers at the law and find themselves in the criminal justice system time after time, receiving no more than a slap on the wrist and a call two hours too late to ICE inquiring of said criminal's immigration status. The United States has a unique opportunity here—to keep the best of the best from wherever they came from, and send the scumbuckets and dead weights packing.
The solution is simple really, for any governmental power to champion. First, here's hoping there is plenty of outrage in the Latino community over what Ramos and his ilk do and have done. Most Latinos are law-abiding people. Period. Aren't they sick of being guilty of association with dirt like Ramos?
Second, secure the borders. Both of 'em, but if we've got to prioritize, secure the southern border first by whatever means necessary. Wall, electrified fence, moat with alligators, sharks or piranhas, armed gunmen in gun towers, I don't much care and am happy to dedicate my tax dollars to this endeavor.
Third, enforce the laws we do have. There are plenty of reasons someone is deportable. Find one and stick to it and follow through. Screw the anchor baby idea! Take your baby with you or leave it in the U.S. for adoption or foster care. Poor kid didn't break any laws … yet. Don't want for the felony like murder or DUI with injury to take action … it's too late.
Fourth, write up laws with some real teeth to discourage illegal immigration. Make employers responsible for hiring undocumented workers. It's easy—no green card and/or social security card, or if the documents look fake, no job. No jobs, no need to come here.
Fifth, get some able-bodied U.S. citizens currently on welfare to take the jobs formerly occupied by illegal immigrants. In certain locations in California, many farm workers make more money than the federal minimum wage (when I was working in farm labor over 10 years ago, farm workers in the Salinas Valley were earning anywhere from $6.50 to $9 an hour depending on the work).
Sixth, adopt some of Canada's immigration policies. Canada uses a point system, with college-educated people earning points toward entry. Enough of the uneducated masses yearning to be gang members in our cities …
Edwin Ramos is a scumbucket. It is too late to deport him, but it is not too late to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Minimally he should spend the rest of his life in jail. In a perfect world he finds himself rooming with Richard Allen Davis and Scott Peterson for a few years …
And true justice will be served if Danielle Bologna brings suit against the City of San Francisco, the mayor, the DA, the Board of Supervisors, and anyone else who so rabidly embraced and defended S.F. sanctuary city status.
Thank you so much for this very informative entry CaliGirl9!