When Napa County Sheriff’s Deputy Riley Jarecki initiated a routine traffic stop earlier this month, she probably did not consider that the refusal of California officials to comply with federal immigration authorities had put her in the direct path of a habitual illegal alien criminal with drug and mental health issues.
But that is what happened on Feb. 17 when Jarecki pulled over Javier Hernandez-Morales, who’d been deported three times since 2011 and had arrests for a range of crimes from multiple counts of driving under the influence, battery on a peace officer, illegal possession of a firearm and violating his probation. And there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, according to Fox News.
After she approached his car window, the Mexican national fired a gun at Jarecki, who shot back, including at least one fatal gunshot.
“It’s unfortunate that our law enforcement partners and the community are subjected to dangerous consequences because of inflexible state laws that protect criminal aliens,” said ICE spokesman Richard Rocha in a statement.
The incident, Rocha said, could have been prevented had ICE been kept in the loop about Hernandez-Morales’ releases from jail. “This is an impactful, scary example of how public safety is affected by laws or policies limiting local law enforcement agencies’ ability to cooperate with ICE,” he said.
When Hernandez immigration status became known, local officials shifted blame and denied wrongdoing by insisting they were following state law.
“We are in compliance with state law. That is the law of the state of California, and the county intends to comply with state law,” Napa County Supervisor Vallea Ramos told a local CBS News affiliate.
The law in question is SB54, a measure signed in 2017 by former Gov. Jerry Brown and that affords protection to all illegal aliens.
The problem for California politicians and local law enforcement who want to absolve themselves of responsibility is that, according to the Los Angeles Times, three detainers for Hernandez-Morales were issued by ICE to Napa County Jail in 2014, 2015 and 2016; and a further detainer to Sonoma County Jail in 2016.
None were honored and all were issued prior to SB54 going into effect.
The controversial law received warranted criticism in December after Newman (Calif.) Police Cpl. Ronil Singh was killed by an illegal alien who had several drunk driving arrests. Like Hernandez, Singh’s murderer should have been deported years ago.
Perhaps the most outrageous displays of blame-shifting is the op-ed penned by Jodi Hernandez, a relative of Jarecki’s attacker.
Published in the Napa Valley Register, the stunning letter implies that Hernandez was merely a victim of an uncaring system that denied him access to mental health care and did not recognize his humanity.
After apologizing to Deputy Jarecki for being forced into a situation where she had to shoot the suspect, Jodi Hernandez launched an assault of her own against enforcing immigration law.
After noting Javier had worked in the vineyards doing work that “kept the engine that is Napa Valley going,” she asserted that America was “rotting from the inside out.”
She went on. Americans, she wrote, “have lost our ability to relate to the rest of humanity from our place of relative affluence in comparison to the rest of the world” and then she argued the nation “cannot ignore the pain and anguish of an individual and expect to have a safe, strong country.”
Javier Hernandez-Morales was a Mexican national. He was in the U.S. illegally. And he was a habitual criminal with an active arrest warrant. The primary responsibility of officials in California is not to tend to his mental health needs of foreign nationals, but the safety and security of their residents and U.S. citizens.
The thinking of open border policymakers and individuals like Jodi Hernandez is not only foolish, but deadly.
Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.
EDITORS NOTE: This FAIR column with images is republished with permission.