Lyneil Vandermolen

Some people consider illegal immigration a victimless crime and new civil right. However, it inflicts enormous human costs on Americans every day. Citizens who have suffered its effects and found themselves ignored are the ones truly “living in the shadows.” Consider the stories of three people I know:

In 2011, Jose Rosario Mendoza Lopez, an illegal immigrant, followed a young woman into the women’s locker room at a stable where they both worked and sexually assaulted her. He had been deported three times but always returned. His last re-entry was just four months before the attack.

Lopez was sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary in Pendleton for methamphetamine possession and sexual abuse. His victims could have been any of the grade school or high school girls who rode at the Portland area stable every day. If the national amnesty bill passes, Lopez could qualify for citizenship because he has only one assault conviction.

Then there’s Lisa (not her real name). Confined by spina bifida to a wheelchair, she was crossing the street to go to church in June 2012, when an illegal alien, texting while driving down the bike lane, slammed into her and threw her thirty feet. Lisa survived but suffered a broken neck.

The Beaverton police discovered the driver had no license and was using someone else’s Matricula Consular card, an ID card the Mexican Consulate dispenses to illegal aliens on demand. Despite his reckless driving and ID fraud, the Beaverton police declined to turn him over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has since sued Lisa twice for the emotional damage he suffered by hitting her and for the dents to his borrowed car.

The third victim was Kay Blaser, 26, who attended my church in Tualatin. In 2008, she died when a drunk illegal immigrant with a valid Oregon driver’s license broadsided her car in Oregon City, leaving a child motherless. That year Oregon stopped issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But only four years later, Gov. Kitzhaber and some legislators have bowed to the pressure of illegal immigrant lobbies and agriculturalists and are rushing SB 833 through the process to restore access — apparently to create the illusion of safe lawbreaking. In fact, its supporters claim that if illegal immigrants insist on driving anyway, which several threatened to do at the bill’s only hearing, they will at least be insured.

However, the bill doesn’t require the illegal immigrant driver to carry insurance. Only a car registration requires that. He can get along with a borrowed car and his permit, while citizens can only hope the car’s owner carries insurance.

The real reason for SB 833 is to keep employers of illegal labor happy and to placate activists in the “immigrant rights” movement. In the meantime, our citizens are at risk from the increasing number of lawbreakers who kill and maim on our roads whether or not they carry licenses.

Without exception, journalists and politicians who defend illegal immigration have dismissed my reports of the suffering it causes, telling me that crime and accidents happen everywhere. However, these particular tragedies would not have occurred if our government had done its job to prevent these illegal immigrants from arriving in the first place. While illegal immigrants organize on the state and national level to demand their right to break our laws, their American victims often remain isolated, silent and unknown. Their grieving families often find it too painful to launch into related political activism.

So illegal immigration’s financial costs aren’t the whole story. More important are its human costs: its costs to people — to our fellow citizens — whose lives have been altered forever by the depredations of an illegal immigrant. If I know three victims of this “victimless” crime, I suspect everyone does.