In a county that neighbors the jurisdiction of Joe Arpaio, America’s Trollingest Sheriff, law enforcement says an inmate was so desperate to stay in America that he horribly murdered his cellmate. This is because a concrete box is, according to Arizona cops, better than Mexico.
On Saturday, November 16th, during morning inspection, there was some kind of struggle. A prisoner in Corrections Corporation of America’s Florence, Arizona, facility received injuries from his cellmate that later killed him. The victim’s name was Michael Patrick McNaughton, and the cellmate’s name was Roberto Venegas Fernandez. Fernandez had strangled McNaughton, stomped his head in, and for good measure, bit his dick. Fernandez had been serving time for a sex crime, but it’s unknown whether this was his first dick-biting incident.
There was a cursory investigation, after which the Sheriff’s Department of Pinal County released a statement last Monday that the killing occurred during a fight. After further investigation, law enforcement reached another conclusion: “[Fernandez] liked it in jail and he did not want to be returned to Mexico. And he was willing to do anything, basically, to stay in prison.” In other words, Fernandez turned on McNaughton out of the blue because of his master plan to stay locked up.
That quote about Fernandez came from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau, whose name might sound familiar. Babeau and Arpaio used to work together closely, but Babeau was recently outed, and now Arpaio is distancing himself from his Pinal County Counterpart. But Babeau being gay has not steered him toward the liberal immigration agenda. In fact, The Huffington Post reports that Babeau used threats of deportation against his Mexican ex-boyfriend who was threatening to derail his 2012 bid to run for Congress by outing him.
Paul Babeau. Screencap via
Babeau did not hesitate to make his position on immigration (against) into an issue in the Fernandez matter. He had this to say in his statement:
“When does it become enough, with the thousands upon thousands of crimes that are committed in our country by people who are illegal? What is it going to take for the politicians in Washington to put American citizens in our country first?"
In light of apparently all undocumented immigrants getting so desperate that they’ll strangle you and take a bite out of your genitals to stay in America, what is it going to take? I have no clue, considering Obama is tougher on immigration than Bush was, averaging 32,886 deportations per month, compared to 20,964 for Bush. Arguably what it’ll take is funds, since it requires $23,000 of federal money to deport someone.
Maybe he’s advocating a system with no expensive removal process, which would bypass the need for all that money. In this new system, sheriffs like Paul Babeau can just shuttle all the illegals back to Mexico themselves. As a piece of anti-immigrant propaganda, Fernandez could make a powerful case study among the easily persuaded to join Babeau’s cause. Stay with me:
You have to start from the position that Arizona anti-immigration group Stand With Arizona takes, which is that all undocumented immigrants are felons. Beginning from that assumption helps, because rather than picturing eight-year-olds and guys with leaf blowers when someone says “undocumented immigrant” you can instead picture Danny Trejo, much scarier.
So with that in mind, assume, as anyone who has seen West Side Story would, that all Latinos just want, in their heart of hearts, to stay in America.
To be clear, it seems plausible that Fernandez does want to stay in jail, and doesn’t want to be deported to Mexico. It’s not far-fetched because he’s not operating on the same wavelength as most people, US citizens or not. Strangling McNaughton would have been enough to kill him, but according to the statement given by the Sheriff’s Office, the old head-stomp-dick-chomp was a bit of theatrics aimed at ensuring that the offense was marked down as first-degree murder. Fair enough, but is Babeau’s “What’s it going to take?” rhetoric meant to suggest that undocumented immigrants have a higher-than-average propensity for this kind of thing?
Before you comment, no they don’t. Most of the undocumented immigrants in our prisons are “felons” on the basis of their immigration status alone. Information gathered by the Immigration Policy Center (admittedly a lobby group), shows a steep rise in immigration to the US over the past two decades, and correlates that to a drop in violent crime. A little dubious without a causal connection, maybe, but in more limited studies of behavior within communities as covered in a 2008 paper by UC Irvine’s Rubén G. Rumbaut, Latin American immigrants were less likely than the US-born to commit violent crimes, even when they lived in poverty.
So immigrants are less violent, actually. Without a detailed psychological study, who can say why this is? Maybe, like Fernandez, they just don’t want to be deported, but they’re better at playing nice than he is. In any case Fernandez’s example lies, to say the least, way way way outside the average.