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Where were immigration laws?

March 3, 2008

by Roz Kohls

Someone in Chippewa County was not doing his job enforcing the law two years ago.

But first, here’s what happened a couple of weeks ago. Alianiss Morales, 23, was taken into custody on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation after she allegedly ran a stop sign, hit a school bus Feb. 19, and killed four children from the Cottonwood community.

Morales, who is using a fake name, was found to be in the United States illegally. Her real name is Olga Franco. As a result, she didn’t have a valid drivers license.

However, Morales also was caught driving without a valid license in 2006, in Chippewa County. She was an illegal immigrant then, too, but no one noticed. How come?

Either the county attorney, city attorney, county sheriff’s deputy, sheriff’s investigator or detective, police officer, or judge never investigated why she didn’t have a drivers license or check out her immigration status.

What did Morales’ employer know about her illegal status? Why couldn’t her employer demand she have a valid drivers license to drive in the employer’s parking lot?

Several people have been looking the other way in events leading up to the school bus crash.

This tragedy in Cottonwood could have been averted if Morales had been deported in 2006.

Already I’m hearing that offering illegal immigrants the opportunity to take a drivers test and get valid drivers licenses will be a better solution than deportation. This supposedly will make illegal immigrants better drivers.

It won’t, though. Morales probably drove through the stop sign accidentally, the same way US citizens accidentally drive through stop signs. She either was daydreaming, didn’t see it, habitually drove through it because there was rarely traffic there, was in a hurry, or thought she was above the law and didn’t have to stop at stop signs like the rest of us do.

Maybe she was tired and momentarily fell asleep at the wheel, or maybe was blinded for a moment by bright sunshine.

Also, I’m sure Guatemala, her home country, has stop signs at intersections, just as we do. Morales already was familiar with the concept of stop signs.

Once illegal immigrants have drivers licenses, they can be used as “proof” of citizenship. Illegal immigrants can use them to vote, get jobs, use as identification to go into areas needing high security, and apply for welfare and Social Security benefits, all things they are not entitled to if they are not citizens.

A drivers license in a fake name can be used for fraud.

I hope that after the funerals end, and the worst of the pain and grief subsides, the community of Cottonwood holds government officials accountable. Someone in Chippewa County chose not to enforce the law.