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Illegal Immigration Hit Close To Home

Illegal Immigration Hit Close To Home

I remember those beautiful girls every time I pass through that damned intersection. It’s the place where two Virginia Beach teenagers lost their lives as they waited for a red light on the night of March 30, 2007.

If they’d run the light they might still be alive. But they obeyed the law. Unlike the man who killed them.

It was the next day before most of us learned that Tessa Tranchant, 16, and Ali Kunhardt, 17, had been killed when a drunken driver plowed into them at the intersection of Virginia Beach Boulevard and Kings Grant Road.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the news shook the city. Pictures of the girls were on the front page of the newspaper and on the local TV news for days. Outrage grew after authorities admitted that the driver of the car was an illegal immigrant from Mexico whose blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Worse, that this was his THIRD alcohol-related offense. And that he’d never been deported.

Fox News’ bombastic Bill O’Reilly reported on the case relentlessly. He asked the question everyone was asking: Why hadn’t this hairball been deported after his first - or second - arrest?

There were no good answers. Just a lot of bureaucratic buck-passing and excuses.

In November of that year, Alfredo Ramos was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Twenty four to serve and 16 waiting for him if he returned to the U.S. after his deportation. Ramos will finally be sent back to Mexico when his prison term is over. In the meantime, he costs Virginia taxpayers about $25,000 a year.

This case makes me want to begin every sentence with “If only.”

If only Ramos had been booted from the country when police picked him up on either one of his two other alcohol violations, this never would have happened.

If only Ramos had respected our immigration laws and stayed where he belonged, Tessa and Ali would be 28 and 29 today.

Instead, they’re frozen in time. Winsome teenagers. Best friends forever.

Ray Tranchant, Tessa’s father and a Naval Academy grad, became an immigration activist. He appears frequently with other “angel parents” who have lost children to illegals. He says he doesn’t want anyone to experience this terrible loss.

But they will. You can count on it. Until we fix our broken immigration system.

I don’t think about Tessa and Ali only when I pass that intersection. I think of them when I see pictures of the border flooded with immigrants.

I thought of them Monday when U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported their busiest day ever - rounding up 4,000 illegals. I thought of the girls on Tuesday when that agency broke another record and apprehended 4,117 migrants.

I thought of them yesterday when I read “U.S. Has Hit ‘Breaking Point’ Amid Immigration Surge” in The Washington Post.

You may not agree with the wall. You may loathe the president. But this is a crisis.

And if you lived in Tidewater in 2007 you remember when illegal immigration hit home.

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