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HomeIllinois NewsOp-Ed: Protecting criminals in Urbana and Chicago endangers all of us

Op-Ed: Protecting criminals in Urbana and Chicago endangers all of us




Ray Tranchant's daughter was killed by a drunk driver who was in America illegally. He's warning fellow Illinoisans about the dangers of sanctuary cities as Governor Rauner contemplates how he will move on SB 31 – a bill making every public school, medical facility, DMV center in Illinois, as well as preschools and nursing homes, locations that protect criminals. 

By Ray Tranchant of Catlin, Illinois - 

I wrote an op-ed in the Champaign-Urbana Gazette a few months ago (01/29/2017) about the dangers associated with cities that declare themselves "sanctuaries" in order to protect illegal aliens – people that have either overextended their work visas or just walked across the desert or Rio Grande to make their way to Urbana from other countries.

An Urbana City Council Member, Eric Jakobsson from Ward 2, wrote an opposing viewpoint op-ed and both were published on the same day in the paper's Guest Commentary section.

My view was and still is that sanctuary cities are umbrellas, created to protect illegal aliens from Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) authorities to the point of not reporting crime data or even crimes to Federal authorities. This prevents the non-citizens that commit felonies from being placed in a national database, similar to the FBI, Homeland Security, and other Intelligence agencies that crosscheck and identify criminals. This then becomes a security issue to fellow Americans if criminals cannot be identified.

Mr. Jakobsson voted with the other five councilmen to an opposing 2 about a week before New Year’s Day 2017 to maintain Urbana’s sanctuary city status. He explained that “the 1,300 undocumented immigrants in Urbana, in a certain sense, are nobody special. They work among us, live among us, send their children to our schools — they are us.”

Ray nicki and Trump Houston
President Donald Trump with Ray Tranchant and his wife 

I warned that illegal crime factions flock to sanctuaries that will protect their status. Currently, only three sanctuaries are effect in Illinois and Urbana is one of them. Criminals hide under these umbrellas. The only problem with this logic is that Urbana can’t guarantee that they will stay within the city's boundaries.

Just like Urbana, Chicago is a sanctuary city. To top it off, the sanctuary Cook County has a real budget crisis. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is authorizing from two to four million dollars to issue exclusive Chicago ID cards for illegal aliens, that will be totally useless outside of Cook County.

Somehow by issuing these IDs, the non-legals believe the card legitimizes their non-citizen status. Emanuel added as rhetoric that recipients of the cards would also include the homeless.

Chicago hasn’t cared as much about the homeless in past years, as they have about the 230,000 illegal immigrants living in the gerrymandered, headphone-shaped district. It amazes me that they can waste that amount of Illinois taxpayer dollars on the program.

Five days after Mr. Jakobsson and five other councilmen voted to retain Urbana’s sanctuary status, LaDonna "Jeannie" Brady was working the New Year’s Day shift at the American Legion in Champaign. She bartended there and was driving back home to Mahomet, Illinois – a very long day for her.

She had taken the same exit on I-74 a hundred times before, and was greeted at the bottom of the interchange by two headlights. The rest of the details of the crash was not released to the public by the Illinois State Police until April 26.

Jeannie died at the hospital, and the man who killed her was driving on the wrong side of I-74. He had four known names: Estaban Tomas Juarez, Estaban Juarez-Tomas, Estaban Juarez Tomas and Victor Ochoa.

He had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit and was taken to the hospital. Estaban had been deported three previous times and had a Guatemalan passport on his person. However, he didn’t use it to enter the country.

This is the really sad news. The Illinois State Police did not place him on hold, or call ICE. Juarez walked out of the hospital and fled. Until he is incarcerated and brought back to Illinois, he will remain a free man.

Bear in mind, he committed three felonies prior to the manslaughter of Jeannie Brady. ICE deported him back to his home country of Guatemala three times for committing felonies in the US. He had to break back in through the desert because ICE would have pulled him at the checkpoint crossings.

He continued to come back to the sanctuary that Urbana provided for him.

The Illinois State Police botched this case up so badly trying to be “politically correct” that they would not answer phone calls or requests for information until three months after the incident – plenty of time for this criminal to take a pleasure cruise to the far corners of the earth. Maybe they will learn from this and never let it happen again.

Since that time, I have met and bonded with her husband, Eric, an IT specialist. He is still in shock, like I was when my daughter and her friend were killed by an illegal who moved from sanctuary to sanctuary. The good thing about my daughter Tessa Tranchant and her friend Ali Kunhardt’s killer is that he has just finished ten years of a 40 year sentence in Greenville, a maximum security prison in Virginia. He still can’t speak English (obviously he had no intention of assimilating) after 10 years, but there is one thing that I do know. He is sober.

So, Councilman Jakobsson, do you really still feel that guys like Juarez – as you so eloquently quoted and voted - “are nobody special. They work among us, live among us, send their children to our schools — they are us"?

They sure are not me.

My Mom was a real immigrant with a real green card, background check, medical exam, and before she finally took her citizenship test ten years after she arrived, Mom was proud to call herself an American. She didn’t break into the country and did not live as an illegal alien under an umbrella created by cities who could exploit her for cheap and non-reported labor. She assimilated. Illegals here today rarely ever try to even learn English.

Think about Eric Brady, a good guy and fellow Illinoisan and how this could have been prevented. More importantly, how easily it could have been YOU before you vote again, Urbana.


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  1. Amen to your article! Jeannie was A very good friend whom I loved dearly. And for Champaign/Urbana to be a SC….is deplorable!! It’s because of this umbrella that all of these illegals & even the resident Chicago thugs are moving into our farming communities & causing havoc in our quiet towns! I am from Charleston (home to Eastern IL U) & since moving away, nothing has been the same in 8 years!! So much violence & theft by illegals & thugs who have migrated south! And the police not following through is disgusting!! Always told to “stand down”…. try STANDING UP for once & defend your own neighborhoods & neighbors…it’s because of crap like this that cops are getting a bad rep!! Mr. Mayor, stop the political correctness & have some balls to put your foot down for once & say NO!! You are only adding fuel to the fire & you CAN be replaced!!

  2. Eva,
    I totally agree with you. Sanctuaries were initially designed to protect illegals that are victims or witnesses of crime to come forward without being deported. So witnesses of crimes in the predominately black section of Chicago, the SW, where 4000 people were shot last year don’t come forward because they will be killed by the thugs!They are not Sanctuaries, so why the special treatment for the illegals? It’s because big business exploit them, keep their pay under wraps, provide substandard housing and hold them down as a “have-not”, “invisible” society. Plus the criminals and drug traffickers flock there because of the protection that “umbrella” gives them. They certainly stray away from areas that enforce our Immigration Laws! The criminal illegals still kill rape or steal every day, and their sympathizers look at them like they are innocent victims that just stumbled over the border for a better life! Everything has consequences, and the rule of Law is important. Democratic Partied Mayors are the biggest offenders of this, and nothing good comes of it. The illegal aliens are a “net-drain” on the taxpayers, even though they pay very few taxes. The left says “they pay taxes” but the legitimate green card holders last year have duped the IRS out of 4 billion dollars a year for 10 years! Under Bush it was 2 billion! And the Country spends 110 billion a year on welfare, schooling for their kids, and services. It is a huge Net Drain on our economy! The Sanctuary Mayors allow it because they don’t care about the Country as a whole;which is extremely selfish. The mayors like the ones in LA, Chicago, and NYC are exploiters that don’t live with the consequences. Death by Illegal is the ultimate price we pay as Americans! It is random and ANYONE could be next!

  3. Our deepest sympathies, Mr. Tranchant. More sympathies because families like yours can’t get a hearing with our Republican governor to talk about the bill that would make illegals safe in our state.
    We’re going through the darkest days before the light at the end of the tunnel.

  4. Every city police dept across the states whines that they need help from the public for rule of law to work, but here we see the state is wanting to mandate city law enforcement to not help federal law enforcement. They are dening the public rule of law and justice. This is third world banana republic rule of law, the banana republic cook county dictators pick & choose who is equal under the law. Cook county legislatures deserve our hatred for this injustice.
    “The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means to declare that the government may commit crimes would bring terrible retribution.” ~ Louis D. Brandeis