From National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program Thursday comes the story of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with harboring illegal aliens in his home and lying about it to authorities. Also found in his home were “couple ounces of methamphetamine in the house, as well as drug packing materials. “
What made the story compelling is that one of the illegals that Marco Gerardo Manzano, Jr. of San Ysidro, California, was charged with harboring is his father. In NPR’s words, “
It’s not unusual for a father to visit his son for an extended stay, except in this case the dad is a deported felon, and the son is a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
The program explains
SHARMA: Manzano, Sr., was first deported from the U.S. to Mexico in 2007, but later that year he resurfaced in the U.S., was convicted for selling marijuana and deported again. Court papers say Manzano, Jr. told federal investigators last month he knew his dad was a convict who had been deported, but he didn’t know where his father was.
Later that month, according to U.S. wiretaps, Manzano, Sr. was heard on the telephone saying his son had informed him that quote, “they were looking for him.” Nunez says there could have been an honorable way out for the son.
What makes the program reprehensible is the following:
Mr. NUNEZ: The son should have told his father, look at, you know, I cannot help you, and, in fact, I’m obligated to report you if I know that you are here in the country. So don’t put me in that situation. Don’t make me choose between my loyalty to you and my loyalty to my oath as a law enforcement officer.
SHARMA: Manzano’s alleged choice is a crude reminder of what immigration reform activist Christian Ramirez believes are flawed policies.
Mr. CHRISTIAN RAMIREZ (Immigration Reform Activist): It reflects the fact that our immigration policies are out of touch with the reality of what it is to live in the U.S.-Mexico border. Our immigration policy is designed to split families apart. It’s designed to pit family members against family members.
The LA Times reports
Three days after teams of heavily armed federal agents raided the home, the elder Manzano remains a fugitive. His son was charged with harboring illegal immigrants and lying to federal agents. Authorities and neighbors are trying to sort out if his alleged actions were an understandable though still illegal act of mercy, or part of a larger criminal enterprise.
The search of the house offered mysterious clues: Under a patio in the backyard, agents found a small room where an illegal immigrant was hiding. In the house, they also found 61 grams of methamphetamine along with drug paraphernalia and narcotics packaging material.
The piece concludes as follows:
Manzano, Jr. pleaded not guilty in court yesterday to charges he aided and abetted illegal immigrants and lied to a federal officer. His father remains a fugitive.
For NPR News, I’m Amita Sharma in San Diego.
Reprehensible, because the journalist paints as an alleged choice the duty of a law enforcement officer to a) avoid harboring an expelled felon in his home; and to b) avoid allowing his home to be the site of drug paraphernalia and packaging materials.
I suggest those considering funding of the NPR budgets to take a closer look at this case. The NPR link is here http://www.npr.org/2011/01/13/132908959/Border-Agent-Accused-Of-Hiding-Illegal-Immigrants