Having just returned from a swing through the Southwestern states, I am more acutely aware of the illegal immigration issue than I was before my trip. In all honesty, right or wrong, parts of this country are much more Hispanic than any other population. The numbers are startling to say the least.
But most Americans are told that the bulk of this new wave of immigrant population are coming here for jobs and that most send much of their paycheck back home to Mexico. I know countless examples where this is true. Yet there's an underbelly - a dark side - to the illegal immigration issue that is far less reported. Just ask the Houston police. They know firsthand what all is involved.
Houston police officer Rodney Johnson, father of five, stopped Juan Leonardo Quintero last week on a routine traffic stop. Quintero had been deported from this country in 2004 after a conviction for indecency with a child. Yet he had returned illegally through our porous border system like thousands of others do daily.
Johnson put Quintero in handcuffs but tragically, missed the small handgun that the suspect had concealed in his pants. Inside the police car, Quintero managed to pull his gun and shot Johnson four times in the head.
The Houston police spokesman said it best: "The subject was deported, and yet he came back, so if the government fulfilled their responsibility of protecting the border we would probably not be standing here today."
Yes, many of the illegal immigrants come here to earn an honest wage and to help family back home. They obey the laws and help the economy in occupations that are unacceptable for much of our population. Given the right circumstances, someday they will be productive, voting Americans and become part of the fabric of this great nation.
But still, there are others like Juan Leonardo Quintero, a career criminal who came to this country illegally to engage in more illegal activities. And now a father of five is dead because our immigration policy is currently unable or unwilling to weed out the good from the bad.
Quintero could just have easily been a terrorist. To one Houston family, he was.