I have long argued that any effort to deport illegal aliens should begin with those illegals who commit crimes after they arrive — especially crimes that endanger people’s lives. In my home town of Los Angeles alone, 34,000 illegal aliens flow through county jails every year — yet only a fraction of that number is identified and deported. This sickening failure is replicated across the country, day after day — meaning criminals who shouldn’t be in the country in the first place are set free to commit more crimes.

Recently, our failure to Deport the Criminals First cost three more human lives.

From the March 29, 2007 edition of the Houston Chronicle:

[Ignacio] Gomez-Gutierrez was driving with a blood-alcohol content that was three times the legal limit when he plowed into the rear of a car on U.S. 59 near the entrance to Kingwood, investigators said. The car’s occupants, Maria Ortiz and her daughter, Vanessa, who was five months pregnant, died instantly.

Vanessa Ortiz was carrying a baby boy, and his name was Nathaniel.

Blogger Texas Rainmaker witnessed the accident, and reports: “It was a terrible wreck and I was in shock in seeing the car crumpled like a soda can.” He links to a video of the aftermath of the accident, from which this still image was taken:

crumpled-car.jpg

Here’s the kicker: the culprit is an illegal alien, and this is his fourth DWI offense.

Gomez-Gutierrez, a 25-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, is now facing his fourth drunken driving charge. But this time it has been elevated to two counts of intoxicated manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid. Investigators say he fled from his disabled vehicle after the wreck.

The handling of Gomez-Gutierrez’s case has sparked criticism from victim advocates. They say they are upset not only for what they call lenient sentences but because immigration officials did not deport him after he finished serving time on three prior DWI convictions in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Three prior DWIs and not one single deportation.

Who is at fault? The Harris County Sheriff’s Department blames the feds for not deporting illegals. But local police in Houston have a sanctuary policy that prevents officers from asking suspects about their citizenship status.

There is plenty of blame to go around. The failure is systemic; it occurs at every level of government — from cities like Houston that perpetuate sanctuary policies, to the federal government, which refuses to staff local jails with enough ICE agents.

The bottom line is simple: until we are deporting every single illegal alien who is in this country committing crimes and putting people’s lives at risk, don’t talk to me about amnesty. Maria Ortiz, Vanessa Ortiz, and Nathaniel Ortiz deserved better from our government.

[Patterico blogs at Patterico.com and can be reached at patterico -AT- gmail -DOT- com.]