The Reality of Migrant Crime

By Byron York

There's been an ongoing political debate lately about crimes committed by migrants who entered the United States illegally. Actually, there's not much to debate about their first unlawful act -- entering the United States without authorization -- but much disagreement about how many illegal border crossers commit crimes after that.

In recent weeks, Republicans have publicized the murder of Laken Riley, the Georgia nursing student who police say was abducted and killed by Jose Antonio Ibarra, a Venezuelan migrant who entered the United States illegally in September 2022, only to be quickly released into the country. Ibarra was one of millions of illegal crossers who rushed into the United States after the implementation of virtually open-border policies by President Joe Biden. In response to Republicans highlighting the murder, some Democrats argued that the "immigrant crime narrative is racist," in the words of California Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia.

The issue popped up in the State of the Union address, when some Republicans tried to goad Biden into saying Riley's name. Biden did say the name -- although he got it wrong -- and then referred to the alleged killer, Ibarra, as an "illegal." Democratic activist groups reacted in anger, not at the murder but at the use of the word "illegal" to describe an illegal immigrant. Biden swiftly apologized, saying he should have called Ibarra "undocumented" instead.

Now there is another migrant crime in the news, this time in New York City. Last week police raided a house in the Bronx that had been taken over by migrant squatters who had entered the U.S. illegally. In addition to arresting eight of them, police confiscated several firearms, extended magazines, ammunition, plus the drugs ketamine and cocaine. The cops moved in, the New York Post reported, after one of the migrants "allegedly flashed a pistol at someone on the property March 27, leading to a 911 call and the discovery of the squatter gang."

In true New York fashion, a judge quickly freed most of the suspects without bail. At that point, the Enforcement and Removal Operations office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested three of them. How did they do that? Officers just went back to the house in the Bronx, where the suspects had returned to keep doing what they were doing before their arrests. Now, it appears four others have also been picked up by ICE.

In response to inquiries by Fox News' indefatigable reporter Bill Melugin, ICE has released some background information on each suspect. According to ICE, Suspect No. 1, Yoessy Pino Castillo, entered the U.S. illegally near Brownsville, Texas, on May 6, 2023, and was "released into the United States as an alternative to detention." On Jan. 6 of this year, she was arrested for shoplifting. Then, on March 27, at the house in the Bronx, New York police arrested her for "criminal possession of a weapon, second degree; loaded firearm on school grounds; criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell; and acting in a manner to injure a child." She was immediately released without bond.

Suspect No. 2, Yojairo Armando Martinez, entered the United States illegally near El Paso, Texas, on Sept. 22, 2022. He was immediately released into the country "as an alternative to detention." He never reported to immigration authorities, as his release required.

Suspect No. 3, Hector De Sousa Villalta, entered the United States illegally near Brownsville, Texas, on May 3, 2023. He was given a notice to appear before immigration authorities at a later date and was immediately released into the country. On Aug. 28, 2023, he was arrested in Yonkers, New York, and charged with attempted murder and assault with intent to cause serious injury. He was released from jail again. Last week, he was arrested at the Bronx house and charged with various gun and drug charges. He was released yet again and was later picked up by ICE.

Suspect No. 4, Javier Jose Albornoz Marchan, entered the United States illegally near El Paso, Texas, on May 6, 2023. He was immediately released into the country "as an alternative to detention." He soon had multiple arrests, including for shoplifting in both New York and New Jersey. On Sept. 26, 2023, he was arrested in New York for criminal possession of a loaded firearm and "ammunition feeding devices." He was quickly released. On Jan. 6, 2024, he was arrested again for shoplifting. And on March 27, he was arrested at the Bronx house.

Suspect No. 5, Yerbin Benjamin Lozado Munoz, entered the United States illegally near Eagle Pass, Texas, on Oct. 3, 2022. He was immediately released "as an alternative to detention." The March 27 arrest at the Bronx house, for gun and drug crimes, was apparently his first arrest in the United States.

Suspect No. 6, Johan Jose Cardena Silva, entered the United States illegally near Del Rio, Texas, on Oct. 3, 2022. Exactly what happened then is not clear, but he was ultimately ordered removed from the country. Then, he either was removed and got back in, or he never left, because he ended up in the Bronx house on March 27, facing gun and drug charges.

Less is known about the last two suspects, but you get the idea. All the suspects entered the United States during the frenzied rush across the border that began when Biden took office. Nearly all were quickly released into the country. It is fair to say that the problems they are now causing are directly attributable to the president and his policies.

Millions of illegal crossers responded to Biden's policy changes. Among them were all the suspects above, plus the man who is accused of murdering Laken Riley. There have been many reports of other crimes, too, being committed by those who crossed illegally into the U.S. in the last three years.

Nevertheless, many Democrats and their allies in the press argue that Republicans are exaggerating the problem. Recently, Fox News' Guy Benson responded to an NBC report that claimed, "The data does not bear out the fact that undocumented immigrants kill Americans at any greater rate than legal Americans." That is true, Benson noted, but: "Whether that holds up after we get our arms around the impact of the 10 million illegal border crossings during the Biden crisis remains to be seen.

Also: Illegal immigrants don't have to be disproportionately criminal or violent as a group in order for Americans to feel extra, righteous disgust over violent crimes being committed by perps who have no right to be in the country in the first place -- many of whom have amassed significant rap sheets before committing their most serious attacks."

In New York, we are seeing the results of the confluence of two Democratic policies -- one, the arrival of large numbers of illegal border crossers who were allowed, unvetted, to remain in the United States, and two, the practice of releasing many suspects accused of serious crimes without bail. It's a mess, and it will continue to be a mess. And that is on top of all the other social dislocations and financial burdens created by massive influx of unvetted illegal crossers. It's an issue that is not going away, especially in a presidential election year.
Columnist Byron York by is licensed under