Editorials

Editorial: A story about murder, not immigration failure

Marcelo Marquez, 34, is shown pictured on Facebook. He has multiple pages using different names. Marquez is the suspected gunman in the killings of Sacramento County Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Detective Michael Davis Jr. and the wounding Placer County Deputy Jeff Davis.
Marcelo Marquez, 34, is shown pictured on Facebook. He has multiple pages using different names. Marquez is the suspected gunman in the killings of Sacramento County Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Detective Michael Davis Jr. and the wounding Placer County Deputy Jeff Davis. Facebook

There’s great mystery surrounding Marcelo Marquez, suspect in two deputy killings, starting with whether that is actually his name.

Why was the man from Salt Lake City in Sacramento last week? What was he doing in a car at the Motel 6 near Arden Fair mall? Why does he have so many different names? Why were he and his wife armed with an AR-15 rifle and two guns?

Why wouldn’t Judge Helene Gweon allow the news media to photograph Marquez’s face in the courtroom Tuesday? Is he, or was he, a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico? Is he an FBI informant? Under federal witness protection?

And, of course, why would Marquez go on a shooting rampage that left two sheriff’s deputies dead and a bystander in serious condition?

Some of those questions may be answered if and when Marquez, also known as Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte among other names, goes to trial. He and his wife, Janelle Monroy, were arraigned Tuesday on charges stemming from the shootings and hours-long pursuit that ended in the couple’s capture in Auburn.

But some of those questions may never be answered.

There are things about Marquez’s story that we know for sure, however: It is not a metaphor for failed immigration, it is not a result of President Barack Obama’s policies and it should not be used to further entrench the two sides of the federal immigration debate.

Marquez’s story is about one thing only: a criminal. Though he has not been convicted of last week’s shootings, Marquez has been convicted four times for drug crimes, and deported from the U.S. twice, in 1996 and 2001.

Conservative bloggers and commentators have had a field day with this. You could almost hear them high-fiving each other when Marquez’s immigration status was revealed. And it wasn’t long before writers on Breitbart.com and other conservative sites stated blaming President Barack Obama for the death of deputies Danny Oliver and Michael Davis Jr. Of course, this crowd of anti-immigration zealots can hang most any calamity at the feet of the millions of undocumented immigrants.

It’s not just irresponsible, it’s also obviously incorrect. For one thing, Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other president, Democrat or Republican. For another, Marquez’s deportations and at least one return occurred under two other presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. We don’t know when Marquez crossed after his 2001 deportation, but it was clear he had lived in Utah for some years.

Marquez evidently had the wherewithal and funding for repeated border crossings, which can thwart even the best-funded Border Patrol. You can’t completely seal your border, as some deluded folks seem to imagine, without concocting something akin to Stephen King’s mysterious invisible dome, and we all know how well that turned out for the people of Chester’s Mill.

If this tells a story about immigration at all, it is that deportation isn’t a single simple solution to a complex problem like immigration reform, but part of a comprehensive approach. That’s one storyline that doesn’t play well to the staunch anti-immigration crowd.

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