An illegal alien from Guatemala has been charged with murder for the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old girl that occurred in September 2018. The victim, Madison Wells, had broken up with Bryan Cordero-Castro after a ten-month relationship before he reportedly killed her. The tragedy took place in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Breitbart reported that Cordero-Castro entered the United States via the southern border as an unaccompanied alien child (UAC). There are more than 84,000 UAC requests for lawful immigration status currently pending before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Of course, most UACs attempting to enter the U.S. will not be hardened criminals. However, we rarely have good data on these minors. And this case illustrates why proper vetting and wise detention policies are necessary. There is often no way to be sure until it’s too late.

While their immigration applications are being reviewed, UACs are overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Typically, the ORR releases many of these minors to sponsors or family who are already in the United States.

In Fiscal Year 2017, about half of all UACs “were over 14 years of age, and over two-thirds were boys.” By the time they reach the border, many of these young men have already been involved in gangs, drug trafficking and other violent crime. And many of them should be detained, rather than released into American communities.

As for Wells, her case is sad but not uncommon. It is yet another tragedy in a long line of innocent Americans dying at the hands of foreign criminals who should never have been dumped on unsuspecting American neighborhoods in the first place. Earlier this year, Mollie Tibbetts was allegedly killed by an illegal alien who appeared to have been stalking her. In the same month as Wells’ death, a former Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient was charged with murdering a man on a fishing vessel off the coast of Massachusetts.

If U.S. immigration policy was focused on protecting Americans instead of benefiting foreigners, Wells, Tibbetts, Kate Steinle and hundreds of others would be alive today. Unless Congress gets serious about passing true immigration reform (e.g. a border wall, E-Verify, closing asylum and UAC loopholes), we can expect more Americans to meet the same cruel fate.

Casey Ryan writes for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.

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