Base Instincts

Travis Air Force Base enforces the immigration laws Democrats deride.

Travis Air Force Base, near Fairfield, California, is home to the 60th Air Mobility Wing, the largest in the Air Mobility Command with a fleet of C-5, KC-10 and C-17 aircraft. Travis handles more cargo than any Air Force base and more than 25,000 people live and work on the base. As a matter of security and common sense, anyone entering Travis must pass through security screening.

On May 3, Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nuñez, Mexican nationals living in the Bay Area, came to the base to work on a hospital. As Air Force Captain Lyndsey Horn told reporters, when base security personnel scanned the Mexicans’ ID numbers, “the information came back false.”

Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nuñez were both deported in 2001 but re-entered the U.S. illegally. Nuñez was also deported in 2003 and again illegally entered the United States. As Steve Magagnini of the Sacramento Bee helpfully explained, with previous deportations, “their original removal order can be reinstated as grounds for immediate deportation.”

Travis officials immediately summoned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, their “normal procedure” in such cases. Both Mexican nationals were taken into custody and their support network sprang into action. 

Alisa Whitfield of the Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland told reporters, “These two men are being held in jail for the crime of being undocumented in America.” They had “no other criminal history” and were “star employees” for S&R Drywall, the outfit tapped to renovate the hospital on Travis AFB.

At a Marin Resists rally, Mejia’s supporters demanded the immediate release of this “resident guest on our country’s soil.” For politicians, it was all about Donald Trump.

Congressman Jared Huffman, Bay Area Democrat, explained that to be rounded up on a “database query” was “the kind of inhumane, summary deportation that even President Trump has said we weren’t going to see.” Mr. Mejia, Huffman explained, “is the poster child for the kind of person we don’t want to summarily deport … a law-abiding, tax-paying upstanding family man.”

“President Trump’s xenophobia is playing a role in tearing apart families in my district” said a statement from California assemblyman Marc Levine, a Marin County Democrat. Levine decried “the vindictiveness of the Trump administration,” and has co-authored sanctuary legislation that gives local law enforcement “no role in immigration,” which is “the job of the federal government.”

Federal agents performed that job when Hugo Mejia and Rodrigo Nuñez attempted to enter Travis Air Force Base with false identification. The case also proved educational on the default description of illegals as “undocumented.”

Mejia and Nuñez had documents but they were fake. According to raza-ista Alisa Whitfield, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, the Mexican nationals entered their taxpayer identification numbers instead of Social Security numbers. The attorney did not explain why those numbers might also have been a problem.

Mejia claimed he didn’t know he was going to be working on an Air Force base and after more than a decade in the United States, conducted his interview in Spanish. So Rep. Huffman’s “poster child” confirms that Mexican nationals are not assimilating and learning English in the manner of past legal immigrants.

The Travis case also casts doubt on the claim that illegals do not take American jobs. Work on federal projects demands a “prevailing wage,” always interpreted as union scale. So Mejia and Nuñez were going to be well paid, and they were not performing tasks that American workers shun.  

At Travis AFB it’s “normal procedure,” to hand false documented illegals over to ICE for deportation. Likewise, by stepping up enforcement of immigration law, the Trump administration is only following a policy of the late Texas Democrat Barbara Jordan.

“Deportation is crucial,” Jordan said. “Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave. The top priorities for detention and removal, of course, are criminal aliens. But for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process.”

Many deportees manage to return and some are violent criminals such as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. Instead of handing this felon over to ICE, San Francisco gave him sanctuary. July 1 marks two years since Lopez-Sanchez gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. That killing failed to bring about any change in California’s sanctuary policies.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court, accuses ICE of “stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests,” and using the courthouses as “bait.”

The state capital of Sacramento refuses to cooperate with ICE and is setting aside $300,000 to help “city residents with immediate immigration problems.” Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat and former state senate boss, said violent criminals would not be eligible for public aid but those with “minor offenses” such as DUIs would qualify.

In California, drunk driving is a felony if someone is injured or killed in the infraction. Last year drunk drivers caused 914 deaths in California, but those guilty of DUI still qualify as poster children for the Democrats’ sanctuary surge.