The heartbreaking tale of a gang member being deported

President Trump’s threat to pull ICE and the Border Patrol out of California hasn’t been enacted (yet) so immigration enforcement activities are still taking place. Following the big sweep in the Los Angeles area, individual investigations are still being handled and CBS San Francisco brings us another of the heartbreaking tales of a family being separated by the evil forces of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This is a particularly curious bit of coverage given how these stories normally go, and we’ll get to why that is in a moment. It starts out as so many of these tales do, with a crying child – the daughter of one Armando Nunez Salgado of Napa – watching as federal agents come charging into the family’s backyard and apprehend her dad while he’s peacefully working in his garden.

ICE agents took Armando Nunez Salgado into custody outside his home. According to family members, he was in the backyard when agents walked right in through the side gate. His 14-year-old daughter Isabel Salgado dissolved into tears.

“I cried. I got very emotional, I was really sad,” said Isabel. “I mean to watch someone who is part of your everyday life and then you just have to watch him leave without saying goodbye. It kind of hurts.”

Armando is a construction worker who has been in America more than 30 years. His wife Elena Ponce said his parents brought him to the U.S. when he was only four years old.

Thus far it’s fairly typical of such coverage. You’ve got the wife and the teenage daughter, distressed and in tears over the unfairness of it all. He volunteered to help fight the wildfires plaguing the area last year. On top of that, Armando was brought here when he was only four years old. Shouldn’t this guy have been in the DACA program? Why wasn’t he a “Dreamer” by now? In any event, he’s clearly one of the good guys. The wife concludes by saying, ” So the fact that they took someone off like that. I don’t see the sense in it all. He wasn’t a danger to the community in any way.”

[See Update At End of Article for more on this criminal]
Normally this is the point where I’d start doing some Google searches to see if there’s something else in this guy’s history which might attract the attention of ICE. It’s not that they can’t deport him simply for being here illegally, but if that’s the entire story they probably wouldn’t make this guy a priority bust. But this is where the CBS article takes a sharp turn and saves us any further searching. It turns out that Armando isn’t quite the non-threat that’s being described. (Emphasis added)

But it turns out, Armando does have a dangerous past. After our interview, his family members told KPIX 5 he was involved in gangs and drugs for a long time.

In fact, at one point, he was on ICE’s most wanted list for charges of felony force and assault with a deadly weapon.

Now things become a bit more clear. He’s only had a few years “clean” according to his family, but before that, he was enough of a bad guy to make the most wanted list as a gang member, drug dealer and violent felon. And the most wanted list era was a few years ago since he’s gone to ground since then.

Once again, using this as a pitch to make Trump out as the bad guy falls flat because he was a high-profile ICE target being actively sought during the Obama administration. It just so happens that it took until now for federal agents to track him down and take him in. But if all you did was read the first five or six paragraphs of the national news coverage you’d only know that the federal agents had dragged the poor fellow out of his garden, leaving his sobbing wife and young daughter in their wake. In fact, the actual title of the article reads, “Family Heartbroken After Napa Man Arrested By ICE Agents.”

The reality? A known, dangerous gang member with a violent past was located and taken into custody for processing and (most likely) deportation. You might not want to shed too many tears over this one, kids.

UPDATE: (Jazz) Received this information directly from ICE:

“On Sunday, Feb. 25, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Francisco Fugitive Operations Team arrested ICE fugitive Armando Nuñez-Salgado, 38, a citizen of Mexico and documented Sureño gang member, who has been previously removed by ICE on four prior occasions. Over the past 18 years he has accumulated criminal convictions in California that have resulted in more than 15 years of prison sentencings. His criminal convictions include assault with a deadly weapon (statutorily enhanced because of his gang member status), burglary, hit-and-run causing injury and evading a peace officer.”

This guy had been deported FOUR TIMES and has done 15 years behind bars. He wasn’t exactly the teddy bear the media makes him out to be.