Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo remarked on the Jocelyn Nungaray murder, stating that evil exists regardless of immigration status.


Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged against blaming immigrants in response to the murder of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray, emphasizing that “evil happens regardless of immigration status.” She cautioned against politicizing the tragedy, attributing the conditions leading to Nungaray’s death to former President Trump and Congressional Republicans.

Hidalgo addressed the Harris County Commissioner’s Court, asserting that the perpetrators’ immigration status should not be conflated with their motive for the crime. She criticized the tendency to malign entire communities in the aftermath of such incidents, describing it as a simplistic political strategy.

The suspects, Johan Jose Rangel Martinez, 21, and Franklin Jose Peña Ramos, 26, both illegal immigrants from Venezuela, allegedly met during their journey to the U.S. and later connected in Houston. Prosecutors detailed how they lured Nungaray under a bridge on June 16, subjected her to sexual assault, strangled her, and dumped her body in a creek. Martinez, who confessed to tying Nungaray’s legs, allegedly directed Ramos to dispose of her in the bayou. Martinez attempted to evade detection by shaving his beard and had injuries consistent with a struggle.

During the court session, Hidalgo pointed out that a bipartisan immigration package initially aimed to keep individuals like Martinez and Ramos in Mexico and return those entering the U.S. illegally to their home countries. However, she blamed former President Trump for derailing the agreement to prevent a perceived victory for President Biden on immigration reform. She expressed disappointment at the politicization of the tragedy, highlighting the need for a compassionate and nuanced approach to immigration policies.

Commissioner Tom Ramsey of Precinct 3 in Harris County echoed concerns about illegal immigrant criminals taking refuge in the county, criticizing what he described as sanctuary policies. Ramsey emphasized the need for stricter enforcement and accountability for those entering the U.S. illegally with malicious intent.

Hidalgo suggested that lawmakers consider criminalizing the employment of illegal immigrants if they are genuinely concerned about reducing undocumented migration. Her comments reflected ongoing debates over immigration policy and the broader implications of enforcement strategies at local and national levels.


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