Last week, the New York Times ran an article feeling sorry for an illegal immigrant turned immigrant’s “rights” activist who was discovered by a random immigration check on an Amtrak train and subsequently slated to be deported back to Chile, his homeland. The Times tried to massage readers into feeling bad for the man because he had been here since 1984 when he illegally crossed the Mexico/US border — apparently the Times imagines that time bestows legality as opposed to obeying laws serving that purpose.

An axiom has resonated throughout the country that the NYT doesn’t seem to grasp; “What part of illegal don’t you understand?”

The Times sets up their story presenting their subject, Victor Toro, as some sort of pillar of the community. He has “meetings” and does community work for battered women. He has battled the government for immigrant’s “rights.” He’s an all around important sort of fellow, you see.

Since the late 1980’s, Toro has involved himself openly in many causes.

Mr. Toro and Ms. Ayress, both political activists, started Vamos a la Peña del Bronx in 1987, a storefront group that provided clothing and food for poor people, help with immigrants’ problems, shelter for battered women and health education for those who were H.I.V. positive.

In 1998, the group won an award and a $50,000 grant from Union Square Awards in Manhattan for community service. “We were looking for groups that were operating on pure passion but who had no economic resources,” said Iris Morales, director of the philanthropy.

All commendable activities, generally.

And here is the Time’s excuse for being allowed to stay, ostensibly.

During more than two decades in the public eye, Mr. Toro was hiding his immigration status in plain sight, his lawyer said. Mr. Toro was arrested three times in the 1990s for nonviolent offenses: once for a political demonstration, a second time for a noise complaint, and a third for a building permit dispute.

Mr. Toro was never asked about his immigration status after his arrests, Mr. Moreno said. In addition, his home is opposite the 40th Precinct police station.

Unfortunately for him, though, he is still an illegal alien. One who scoffs at our laws. So, why should we feel so bad for him? He knew he was here illegally and, just because the nitwits and multicultralists in New York City never had the guts to bust him on it, doesn’t mean he should be let off for his violation of the law. A crime is still a crime no matter how much time has passed since its commission.

The most offensive part of the NYT article on this lawbreaker, though, is the Times’ attempt to equate US immigration laws to the despotic regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile.

For Mr. Toro, 65, interactions with governments are filled with dread. When he was a left-wing political activist, General Pinochet’s regime tortured him after the coup that toppled Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973, he said.

So, he was tortured in Chile — a terrible thing to be sure — but in all the many decades he has been here he has neither applied for citizenship, nor applied for political asylum it must be pointed out. Yet because he had a “dread” of the 1970s government of Agusto Pinochet, we should suspend our own laws just for him? And we should get all weepy about his status, something he never bothered himself with much in over 20 years?

I’d venture that if he has spent over 20 years here and has yet to learn that there is a monumental difference between the totalitarian government of Agusto Pinochet and that of the USA, then he is the sort of citizen that we don’t really want anyway!

Perhaps the Times is right that Toro is a good candidate for political asylum, but why exactly should we get too upset if even Toro himself didn’t take our laws seriously enough to be bothered with them? I, for one, cannot force myself to get all weepy over this man.

But, I’d bet Agusto Pinochet wouldn’t have been so easy on him!

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