In March, a few hunters in the Alabama woods came across the dead body of Jose Ruiz. Alabama police have been investigating this murder for months, but it wasn't until Wednesday that they apprehended Jose Martinez, Ruiz's business partner, as a suspect.
Martinez confessed to killing Ruiz. He then confessed to over 30 other murders as well.
Stunned, officials began searching through countless files of unsolved murder cases, stretching all the way from Florida to California and at least as far back 2006. As of yesterday night, police had matched up Martinez's confessions with at least 13 unsolved murder cases and connected his DNA to a Florida double-homicide that he hadn't confessed to.
Another thing officials noted is how calm Martinez was when he spoke of his deeds. The Sheriff's Captain reported that "killing people doesn't seem to affect him."
Why did Martinez kill so many people? Was it merely because he's a sociopath or because he found it entertaining?
No, although that may well have been a part of it. Killing was Martinez's job. He was hired by a drug cartel in Mexico (no one is saying which one specifically) to be the guy who, as he told authorities, "pays you a visit if you don't pay." In short, he was a hit man for the drug cartels.
Ruiz's death, however, was not cartel business. Apparently, Ruiz was bad-mouthing the girlfriend of their mutual friend Jamie Romero, calling her a "bad woman." What Ruiz didn't know is that Romero's girlfriend was also Martinez's daughter. One day in March, Martinez invited Ruiz to accompany him and Romero on a drive. Ruiz never came back.
As sensational as this story is by itself, it's impossible not to connect it to the biggest political issue in the U.S. right now: immigration. Martinez was chosen as the Mexican cartel hit man because his U.S. citizenship allowed him to travel the country freely. I have no doubt that some people will try to use this story to argue that we should restrict immigration further to get one step closer to that nebulous goal of "national security." If you need proof, just check out the comments section of the CNN article, but be prepared to stomach broad stereotypes and quite a bit of racism.
But the story of Jose Martinez doesn't tell us that all immigration is bad, it merely reminds us that altogether open borders are not the best idea — and that's perfectly fine, because nobody's arguing for that anyway.
Instead, what we can constructively learn from this is that we do need a system in place that can separate the few dangerous immigrants like Martinez from the vast crowds of innocent, hard-working ones. We can also take away the fact that U.S. citizenship will invariably be granted to some who abuse it. We should definitely do our best to create as foolproof a system as possible, but it can never be perfect. When someone does manage to slip through, let's not blame an entire nation for that individual's wrongdoing.