An immigration lawyer on Friday insisted it is impossible to determine whether a truck driver who died in a hit-and-run accident earlier this week would still be alive if the other driver had not been in this country illegally.
The Colorado case has drawn national attention because Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman, in keeping with the jurisdiction’s “sanctuary” policy, will not honor an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold request if the defendant makes bail.
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was guest-hosting “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News, asked immigration lawyer Allen Orr if it was not obvious the driver would still be alive if Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda had not been able to sneak into the United States.
“That’s a possibility of extremities that I really can’t say,” Orr answered. He argued that cases like the fiery crash on Interstate 70 are anomalies — and that the wreck is unrelated to the defendant’s immigration status.
“The criminals are such a small part of the large group that you’re sort of trying to isolate,” he said. “Even with the case that you spoke about tonight, with the DUI, with the hit-and-run sort of case, the fact that he’s an immigrant has nothing to do with the actual accident. It’s a tragedy.”
But Chaffetz said he was talking about this specific crash. Wasn’t that preventable?
“That’s absolutely preposterous,” Orr said. “Because, as we all know, hit-and-runs are on the incline all over the United States.”
Chaffetz tried again.
“If that person is not here in the United States, if he’s not here in the first place, you’re telling me that he still would have committed that crime in Denver?” he asked.
“That’s a fallacy to say that if all people who are undocumented were not here, we would not have hit-and-runs,” he said.
Of course, Chaffetz said no such thing. He did not suggest that illegal immigrants commit all crimes or cause all auto fatalities. He said an illegal immigrant caused this specific accident.
Orr repeated his assertion that Castaneda’s immigration status is irrelevant.
“Once again, this is a tragedy [that] happened to the family in that incident,” he said “But a hit-and-run is nothing specific to immigration, itself, specifically.”