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10-year-old’s murder underscores how citizenship status doesn’t make the criminal

LatinaLista — Chances are 10-year-old Jasmen Gonzalez didn’t worry or even know too much about the big national immigration reform debate. The Oklahoma City fourth-grader probably didn’t even understand the concept of “citizenship status.”

And why should she?

Jasmen Gonzalez

She was a young girl, not unlike any other 10-year-old, who was excited to be coming to Carrollton, Texas for a weekend family reunion. Relatives from Mexico and Texas were all going to come together with the Oklahoma branch of the family for comida, recuerdos (memories) and reacquaint themselves with one another.

As what happens with many family reunions, the party outlasted Jasmen. So, wearing her glasses and the clothes she arrived in, she crawled into the bed in the master bedroom and fell fast sleep. When it came time to leave, Jasmen wasn’t in the bed. In fact, she wasn’t anywhere in the apartment.

Panic immediately set in. The police, FBI, canine search units, volunteers and family members set out on foot throughout the night looking for the young bilingual girl whom teachers say delighted in having the nickname J.Lo because of the mole over her lip.

The parents and family members went above and beyond in cooperating with the police. Family members told the police that one person who had been at the reunion, and who was related to Jasmen through marriage, 23-year-old Jose Sifuentes, had disappeared for a little while during the time Jasmen went missing.

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around and a young girl’s body had been discovered a few blocks away — with a stab wound to the chest and her panties and pants pulled down to her knees — any hope the young girl was coming back alive was replaced with anger towards her killer.

It wasn’t long before the family and police focused solely on Sifuentes. He was taken into custody and placed on immigration hold because authorities believe he’s in the country illegally.

Today, Sifuentes was arrested and charged with Jasmen’s murder.

Unlike the politicians and conservatives who continually justify passage of punitive immigration laws citing the crimes the undocumented commit in this country against citizens, Jasmen’s parents and extended family don’t have the luxury of that excuse to use.

For them, Sifuentes is a depraved killer who deserves to be given the electric chair or rot in prison. His citizenship status makes no difference.

As the Gonzalez family understands, being a citizen or not, doesn’t make someone a killer of little girls — it’s a sick mind that determines who is that danger to society.

Just because Sifuentes is Mexican, and an extended family member to boot, doesn’t mean that Jasmen’s family forgives him and wants to see him released or even deported. They, like any other family in this world, want to see justice for Jasmen, for their grief and for their family who spans two countries.

They want to see Sifuentes punished in the country where he dared to violate the most sacred law — Jasmen’s right to an innocent childhood and a long life.

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