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The Journal Gazette

  • Orrego-Savala

Monday, February 12, 2018 1:00 am

Indiana voices

A tragedy, but not a political moment

The tragic highway crash that took the lives of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and ride-share driver Jeffrey Monroe should not be politicized.

Unfortunately, politicians quickly seized upon Sunday's deadly collision as fodder for their side in the ongoing immigration debate. The incident has more to do with the scourge of drunken driving, but addressing that problem is far too thorny and complicated. Instead, President Donald Trump and members of Congress illuminated the news that the driver of the pickup truck that rammed into Monroe's car – stopped on the shoulder of Interstate 70 because his passenger, Jackson, had become ill – was a twice-deported illegal immigrant. Indiana State Police said Jackson and Monroe were outside the car, and were struck by a Ford F-150 driven by a 37-year-old Guatemala native, Manuel Orrego-Savala.

The pickup driver had been deported by Immigration Customs Enforcement in 2007 and 2009, the Indianapolis Star reported, but somehow he was back in the U.S. ISP said his blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit when his truck hit Jackson, 26, and Monroe, 54, just before 4 a.m. Sunday.

The president wrote on Twitter of the incident that “We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border and with illegal immigration. FAST!”

The problems surrounding illegal immigration in this country need careful research, kept in context to all the various issues involved, including the fate of young people in the DACA program. Characterizing the suspect in this horrible crash as the typical undocumented immigrant skews reality. 

Trump made no mention of changing or cracking down on drunken driving laws, yet alcohol-impaired drivers killed 10,265 Americans in 2015, according to the CDC.

The sad crash that killed Jackson, an upcoming athlete, and Monroe, an Uber driver, should be handled on its own merits by prosecutors and the criminal justice system. Likewise, the immigration problem should be dealt with on its own terms, broadly and comprehensively; the I-70 tragedy should be left out of those discussions.

– Tribune-Star,Terre Haute