'Catch and Release': Border Agents Furious After 'Unspeakable' Murder
Two illegal immigrants from Mexico are charged with first-degree murder in the grisly killing of an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent. Javier Vega Jr. was shot to death while his family watched.
It has now come out that the accused murderers had been deported from the U.S. and bounced around the immigration system.
One suspect has been arrested no fewer than four times for entering the U.S. illegally, according to federal court records. The other has been deported twice after entering the U.S. illegally, sources said.
Gustavo Tijerina, 30, and Ismael Hernandez, 40, were arraigned Tuesday afternoon inside the Willacy County jail library. They were ordered held without bail after being charged with capital murder of a peace officer, attempted murder, and a variety of lesser charges.
The pair, who have been living in Texas illegally, confessed after being interviewed multiple times Monday to killing Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr. in front of his wife and two kids and his parents Sunday night while they were fishing in Santa Monica.
Tijerina, who according to records was arrested at least four times between 2007 and 2010 for entering the U.S. illegally, and Hernandez allegedly approached Vega and his family and tried to rob them on Sunday night. When Vega pulled out his weapon, the suspects allegedly shot him in the chest, killing him. Vega's father was shot in the hip and is recovering at a nearby hospital.
Both Tijerina and Hernandez were arraigned on seven charges: capital murder of a peace officer, attempted murder, four counts each of aggravated robbery and one count of tampering with evidence.
Border Patrol agents are furious and on Thursday night, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council expressed his anger to Greta Van Susteren. Shawn Moran said Vega's death never should have occurred and is just more evidence of the failed U.S. immigration system.
He said under the Bush and Obama administrations, the government has had a "catch and release" policy, letting illegal immigrants go free after Border Patrol agents risk their lives in some instances to apprehend them.
"Why do we have immigration laws if we are not going to enforce them? Why do we have a Border Patrol? Why do people like Brian Terry die? Robert Rosas, Luis Aguilar, and now Javier Vega, if we are not going to be serious? I mean, what do we have to do in this country to actually take this threat seriously and be able to do our job?" said Moran, calling the circumstances of Vega's murder "unspeakable."
Moran called out the Obama administration for cutting agents' pay and reducing staffing levels at the border.
"If you're gonna call for backup, you better hope that there's an agent nearby because under this administration, we don't know if we're gonna have that backup due to staffing levels."
Watch the interview above.