Bampumim Teixeira, a lawful permanent resident from Guinea Bissau, was arraigned on murder charges this week in Boston, Mass. The 30-year-old immigrant stands accused of having slit the throats of a married couple – both anesthesiologists practicing in the Boston area – during a robbery attempt gone bad. He was arrested after a confrontation with police, during which he was shot several times.
Sadly, this type of vicious crime is no longer unusual in urban areas. What is unusual about this case is that, even though Teixeira had a history of crime, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) never considered him a candidate for removal.
In 2014, Teixeira robbed a downtown Boston bank, twice. Because he was unarmed (he threatened to shoot the teller but didn’t actually have a weapon), he pleaded guilty to two separate counts of larceny and was sentenced to -nine months plus three years probation. Despite the fact that Teixeira admitted to committing two bank robberies, ICE told internet news site Heavy that, “ICE has no legal interest in this individual, though we will continue to monitor the matter in case his criminal charges change his legal disposition.”
You read that correctly. ICE says it has no legal interest in an alien who was arrested by an FBI Bank Robbery Task Force and subsequently convicted and sentenced to jail time. How is that possible?
Elected officials throughout Massachusetts have been vocal supporters of the sanctuary movement. With the exception of courageous law enforcement officers like Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, many jurisdictions in the Bay State simply won’t cooperate with ICE. So it may have been that ICE simply chose to ignore that Teixeira had been released from custody. It could also have been that deporting Teixeira after his release from jail on bank robbery charges wasn’t a slam dunk and ICE just didn’t want to deal with negative publicity from pro-alien groups that attempt to turn every criminal alien into a “civil rights” martyr.
There are a number of legal grounds for removing criminal aliens. The simplest and most straightforward is what is known as an immigration “aggravated felony.” Criminal aliens deported as aggravated felons are ineligible for relief from removal and are permanently barred from re-entering the United States. Therefore, ICE trial attorneys would prefer to pursue aggravated felony charges, when they can. But aliens convicted of other crimes are still subject to deportation.
It doesn’t appear that Teixeira was removable as an aggravated felon because his robbery conviction didn’t result in a sentence of one year or more (although it would be impossible to tell definitively without looking at court records). Nevertheless, two larceny convictions, would have qualified Teixeira for removal for having been convicted of two “crimes involving moral turpitude” (CIMT). Aliens who commit crimes that “shock the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved” and “contrary to the rules of morality” may be deported. Theft, committed with the intent to permanently deprive an owner of property, has repeatedly been held to constitute a CIMT.
It would be impossible to create an immigration system that only admits aliens who will never commit a criminal offense. Immigrants are human, and even the most law-abiding people may offend in exigent circumstances. The problem in this case was that multiple agencies charged with protecting the American public were well aware that Bampumim Teixeira was a dangerous criminal. Yet, none of them chose to do anything about it. The end result: Two more Americans were sacrificed at the politically correct altar of open borders and immigrants’ “rights.” If ICE continues to insist that it must “prioritize” the removal of certain immigration violators, it should bend over backwards to deport every criminal alien who poses a threat to the American public.