Murder, Imported

On January 4 2004, the front page
story of The Record (Stockton, CA.) was titled
“Slayings Rise in 2003: No Demographic Untouched in San
Joaquin Homicide Total.”

Murders in 2003 totaled 65, up from
59 in 2002.

But what caught my eye was the list
of 65 dead and the 40 captured suspects. It represented
an excellent example of

in the real world: 60 legal and
illegal immigrants, children of immigrants and refugees
were among the 105 names. [
A San Joaquin Hispanic group has

noticed this phenomenon, although they concentrate on the
large number of Hispanic victims, rather than

(Latinos: 32.9 de SJ, 45% de homicidios
Concilio Para Los Hispanohablantes)]

Here, in chronological order, are
some of the murders in San Joaquin County in 2003.

The next time you`re encouraged to
celebrate diversity, remember this:

  • My The Pham, 20, shot on January
    4th at a party. Pham had been arrested in
    2002 on gun and

    possession charges.

  • Christina Ramirez, 18, stabbed at
    a Valentine`s Day dance by a 15-year old Manteca girl.
    Ramirez, a documented

    gang member,
    had previously been charged with
    dumping her newborn baby in a restroom at Harrah`s Lake
    Tahoe in 2002.

  • Katherine Phan, 18-month-old,

    by her father in June while he sang
    karaoke with her.

  • Angel Cruz-Savante, 53, found
    dead wrapped in Christmas sheets in August. Cruz-Savante
    had been arrested in 1998 for

    illegally entering the U.S.

  • Bounthavy Onethavong, 29, shot in
    the head during a drive-by in September. Charged are
    three Cambodian gang members, Mao Hin, 19, Rattanak Kak,
    16, and Sarun Chun, 16.

  • Alfonso Martinez, 20, shot in
    October by the above-mentioned Hin and Kak.

  • Thai Yang, 15, murdered by gang
    member Khorn “Johnnie” So.

Reading the list took me back to the
1990s when I taught

English as a Second Language

Southeast Asian refugees
in Stockton.

Many of my students were good people
struggling enormously to get by in America.

But many of their children were
immediately drawn into lives of

crime and violence.

Such was the case with

Soknoeum Nem
, son of my Cambodian student Chetoeum

Soknoeum, in his early 20s, had a
long rap sheet. A member of the notorious

Asian Street Walker Gang
, Nem had done prison time
for auto theft and burglary.

Nem`s fellow gang-member and good
friend, Mesa Kasem, was sleaze, too.  Kasem had been
charged in 1994 with shooting a woman and firing pistol
shots into an occupied dwelling. For those crimes, Kasem
served one year of a three-year sentence in California
Youth Authority.

After their release in 1999, the
Immigration and Naturalization Service detained both men.
As convicted felons, they were eligible for deportation.
But when efforts to return Nem and Kasem to their native
Cambodia failed, the I.N.S. proclaimed them

“rehabilitated” and
released them.

As it turned out, Nem and Kasem were
a long way from rehabilitated.

Kasem promptly robbed a Stockton
woman in her home and threatened to kill her six-month
old baby.

And in 2000, Kasem teamed up with
his old pal Nem as the two gangsters—then working for a
furniture delivery company—planned a

home invasion
robbery at the Alamo, CA. residence of
Dr. Kim Fang.

Here`s what happened
when Nem and Kasem got to the
Fang`s: Winnie Fang opened the door and was shot in the
chest by Kasem. She survived but her husband and Kasem

as they

exchanged gunfire.
Nem and nanny Melee Jung were both
wounded. The two children fled to a neighbor`s house to
call the police.

Needless to say, when the details of
Nem and Kasem`s violent history came out, hand-wringing
was everywhere. Virginia Kice, [Send her

] then a spokeswoman for the INS`s western
region, told the San Francisco Chronicle that

“We have
tried to strike a balance to ensure we don`t hold people
indefinitely as long as they don`t pose a risk. When you
are dealing with people, it is an inexact science—it is
impossible to predict what an individual will or won`t


Insurance companies
make these predictions all the
time. That`s what they have actuaries for.

And what more did Nem and Kasem have
to do to get the INS` attention?

Continued INS spokeswoman Kice:

“He had
served his sentence, paid his debt to society. Obviously
some people are going to say, `Why did they let this guy
out?` This is a case where we had not only an exhaustive
interview but we felt this individual was a good
candidate for release.”

How wrong can you be?

But the true problem lies not simply
the staggering stupidity of freeing hardened criminals,
but also in our crippled immigration laws.

According to Department of Homeland
Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detention
and removal officers must secure a travel document for
every alien before deportation. They need to be able to
show that the alien`s native country will

let him back in.

The U.S. wanted to deport two
murdering dirt bags to Cambodia.

But that godforsaken country said no

Cambodia called the shots!

And as a consequence Dr. Fong ended
up dead, his wife is a widow and his children are

Nem was sentenced to life without
the possibility of parole. Which means that, for years to
come, taxpayers will foot the bill—an expense that could
have been avoided.

A happy footnote to the Nem/Kasem
saga is that, effective in March 2002, Cambodia

finally caved in to
heavy pressure from the U.S. and
accepted the first six of 1,400 felons scheduled to
return over the next several years.

The U.S. resolve came too late to
save the Fong family. But it shows what influence the
federal government can wield when its sets its mind to
righting a wrong.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.