I first heard of this story on PA GOP insider's blog. Before coming to any conclusions, I decided to do a little research of my own on this case. Here are the facts as they are presented:
On July 12, 2008, 4 teenagers beat up an illegal alien from Mexico to a pulp in a street fight, somewhere in an alleyway in Shenandoa (AKA Shendo). Two days later, the man dies. Two of the boys are most likely to get away with lesser charges, one may face up to 40 years in prison, and the other one may end up being tried as an adult.
The liberal media somehow avoids the fact that the late Luis Ramirez is an illegal alien, but doesn't hesitate to acknowledge the fact that he has 3 kids and a fiance (all living here in the US - nothing indicates whether they live here legally or not). Court records and a few journalists indicate that he was an illegal. What is not known is how the fight started: it is only assumed by the leftist media that these caucasion high school kids decided to just gang up on Mr. Ramirez. Until the actual trial begins, no such presumptions should be made.
The liberal media and leftist bloggers are going out of their way to pound on Lou Barletta for his fascist stance on illegal alien reform and blame him for the death of Luis Ramirez. The leftists are blaming Barletta for what happened in Shendo, which happens to be a good 35 minute drive from Hazleton, where Lou Barletta is mayor. While I don't agree with the way Mayor Barletta decided to handle the illegal alien problem in Hazleton, he cannot be blamed for something that didn't occur in his own city, let alone county. First, Lou Barletta never promoted the use of violence to solve the problems with illegal aliens in Hazleton. Second, the problems that are occurring in Shendo have been continuing for over a decade. The city government and law enforcement officials within Shendo have been reluctant to be proactive in doing anything with racial tension in the city. The mayor of a town 35 minutes away from Shendo has nothing to do with the way Shenandoa's government is run. Third, when violence breaks out as a result of racial tension, people generally know to blame racist/supremist groups for brainwashing kids with their propoganda. No links between Lou Barletta and such groups are known to exist.
I don't see how Lou Barletta can be blamed for this, but one can use the snowball argument that if he wasn't so tough on illegal immigration reform in his own city they wouldn't have migrated to Shenandoa. The problem with this argument is that it would be difficult to prove and illogical to say that every illegal alien who left Hazleton moved to Shendo - you can't even state that a significant percentage moved there.
Aside from defending Lou Barletta, I only have a few more things to say about this case. The first one is that the city of Shenandoa and the city law enforcement officials failed to do anything about the illegal alien issue for years, and the lack of effort by the city has lead to a vigilante effort to remove the illegals. When your government does nothing, fed-up citizens are forced to take the problems into their own hands.
Lack of appropriate legislation exists to address the issue of illegal immigration on the federal level. The citizens want something done about the issue, but our government continues to prove itself to be one failure after another with respect to its people. Not doing anything is just as bad as doing the wrong thing.
Higher gas prices, higher unemployment, and lack of jobs are turning the illegals into scapegoats in cities like Shenandoa for hate groups. If it isn't evident yet, it soon will be. Coupled with the lack of government effort to resolve this issue, illegal immigration will become an even bigger disaster.
The media - without knowing all the facts - have already labeled this a hate crime. Again, we don't know what the facts are and should reserve judgment for when all facts are presented. It could very well be a hate crime, but there are other possibilities. For example, it is possible that Luis Ramirez instigated the fight; that there were more than the 4 kids on the one side involved and 1 illegal alien involved on the other side (could it be that Mr. Ramirez was hanging out with other illegals in the alleyway taunting the kids?); that Ramirez had a weapon, etc. Until all the facts are known, nothing should be presumed.
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