A tragic hit-and-run crime in California has rekindled the controversy over our porous borders after it was learned that Ramon Jaime Horta was not only driving on a suspended license but had been deported six times for criminal offenses from the country. Despite his serving time, Horta showed that he was able to move freely back into the country where he ultimately killed Marcello Bisarello in Santa Ana.
Horta was convicted in 2001 for sale and possession of a controlled substance and driving on a suspended license. He was given nine month in jail and was deported. He was deported again in 2002 and 2006. However, in 2008, he was back in the criminal system and pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. He was given two years in state prison.
That brings us to 2015 when he hit and killed Bisarello while driving without a valid license and while driving under the influence. He fled the scene but was captured a few blocks away. He had a prior DUI as well as a probation violation on a record with convictions for battery, drug possession, and other crimes.
Horta was deported in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2012. He has now allegedly killed a man.
The case has already been introduced into the political campaigns over immigration policy. Putting aside the debate over walls and deportations, it is clear that we need to do a better job in handling recidivists like Horta, who seems to have found a revolving door in our border. I am unsure why he spent so little time in jail given his record of habitual offenses. Notably, this is a case where deportation occurred . . . repeatedly. Yet, it did not prove to be any real barrier to this man. At a minimum, the case may offer an insight into how these figures are evading the system and reentering the country with apparent ease. He does not seem like a particularly clever fellow, which raises the concern that even more dangerous figures from terrorists to organized crime might have equal ease in entering the country without detection. That should be a serious concern.