A leftwing religious Minnesota group called ISAIAH has long been touting the story of Carlos Urrutia. Urratia, according to ISAIAH, is a “faith leader” who “was forcibly and abruptly taken by ICE in July of 2018 while his family and other ISAIAH leaders watched in horror.” The ISAIAH story goes on to make it sound like Urratia was randomly picked up, despite being a longtime U.S. resident with children in the country, simply for the crime of being undocumented.
Urratia’s criminal history
Actually, in July 2018, Urratia was sentenced to 5 years probation on one count of criminal vehicular operation while under the influence of alcohol. This charge stemmed from an arrest in 2017, after Urratia injured a pedestrian while driving drunk.
According to the Pioneer Press, “The 44-year-old Urrutia and his nephew were driving in Roseville when Urrutia suddenly struck a pedestrian as she was walking across the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Ruggles Street the evening of March 29, 2017.” The 20-year-old woman who was hit was rushed to the hospital where she underwent emergency brain surgery, and was later diagnosed with “significant traumatic brain injury that necessitated extensive rehabilitation.”
That incident marked Urratia’s third conviction in Minnesota for drunk driving. And Urratia also has domestic violence charges on his record. Because of his criminal history, Urratia spent 168 days in jail following his arrest.
But JaNae Bates, communications director for ISAIAH, called the arrest of Urratia by ICE agents “evil.”
Bipartisan immigration enforcement rules
Moralizing aside, the situation is complicated. Aside from the DUIs, by all accounts Urratia has been a productive member of society. After being in the U.S. for 25 years, he’s earned his high school diploma, and moved his way up to manage a kitchen (before his arrest). He’s also a husband and father of three children.
On the other hand, federal immigration rules dictate that aside from a violent felony conviction, one crime that can trigger deportation is multiple DUIs, especially when there is a person injured in the incident. The other non-felony crime that triggers deportation is domestic violence. These rules were put in place by the Obama administration.
In other words, although the Trump administration has stepped up immigration enforcement—despite what is depicted in the media—people aren’t being pulled off the street and deported merely for the crime of being in the country illegally.
That didn’t stop Telemundo, which is owned by NBC, which is owned by Comcast, from grossly misreporting Urratia’s arrest by ICE agents. Local outlets like Fox9 also buried the part about Urratia’s criminal history at the bottom of their articles, and called Urratia a “faith leader” in the headline.
That brings us to a broader point. Media organizations have consistently lied about immigration issues. They said that immigration doesn’t impact wages, when it does, and have sugarcoated the criminal element of illegal immigration. Media groups have also accused the Trump administration of needlessly separating migrant parents and children. Really, the White House was pushing back against a policy that worsened human trafficking and incentivized bad people to treat children, theirs or not, as tickets into America.
In 2018, Urratia was supposed to be deported to Mexico, but was granted a delay by the immigration judge. He says he is still fighting the immigration proceeding, and could face deportation at any time.