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In early August, August 7 to be exact, in Houston, Texas, right after the sun had gone down, about 9 o'clock p.m. on a hot summer night, a young girl was walking home. Shatavia Anderson. She went by Tay, and she was walking down the street not far from where she lived in a very modest community, a 14-year-old, happy, spirited child.
She was confronted by two individuals who ambushed her, who taunted her, who robbed her, and as she tried to get away, one of them shot her in the back and murdered her not far from where she lived. This is who Tay was. This is her in the pink. She is next to her mother, Keisha Lambert. She's a real person, Mr. Speaker, a real victim of criminal conduct, died in the early teenage years. Tay's father, Leroy Anderson, said that his beautiful daughter "loved life". And you can tell by looking at her that she is a happy, spirited child.
It could have been any of our children.
Over the years in my career as a judge in the courthouse in Houston, Texas, 22 to be exact, I've seen a lot of criminal cases, tried a lot, came across many victims, but this case has bothered me a great deal. I don't know the reason, maybe it's because I have four children, three of them are girls, eight grandkids, five of them are girls, but this one has bothered me a lot just by looking at who this young lady was. Ambushed by two individuals that were caught by the Houston Police Department, Melvin Alvarado, he was the cowardly shooter who shot her in the back. It is not his first experience with the criminal justice system in business Texas. He likes to drink and drive. It turns out, of course, like some others, he was illegally in the United States. He had been deported twice before to his native country of El Salvador, but that didn't make any difference to him. He came back to Houston and committed this crime and robbed this precious child of not only some money, but he stole her life when he came back and shot her in the back not far from where she lived.
There was another individual, Jonathan Lopez-Torres, the getaway driver of the car as they snuck away in the darkness of the night after murdering this beautiful child. He's from Honduras, although he was legally in the United States. He had been arrested for auto theft. The Houston Police Department said when these criminals were arrested they showed no remorse, no sadness, almost arrogant in the crime that they committed here in the United States. Melvin Alvarado confessed to this crime and told the police what he had done.
Joe Lambert, the uncle of Tay, said this about this crime: "Illegals are a big problem in Houston. It is really senseless what happened to my niece, and I don't like it. They are starting to come over here and they do whatever they want to do. What is happening is they are given the green light and saying to the rest of us, hey, you can do whatever you want." Yes, that's what these two arrogant criminals did, but they can do whatever they want. They wanted a little property from this young lady, they shot her because she tried to get away. These are real people, real children, real victims of crime.
The duty of government, Mr. Speaker, is to protect the public. That's why we have government, to protect us. The national government has failed totally in protecting people in the United States from those criminals who come over here to commit crime. We give a wink and a nod to border security, but it doesn't happen. They cross back and forth, they get caught, they get sent back home, they come over again because the border is not secure, Mr. Speaker. It's time for the federal government to secure the border so more children don't get murdered by those illegals who come over here for the purpose of committing crime. I'm certainly not talking about all people who come here illegally, but we are talking about one child that was murdered by one.
The answer is not, of course, amnesty, as some advocate in this House who know nothing about the real world. The answer is securing the border by putting the National Guard on the border immediately to prevent people from crossing, and make sure that when we deport those people, they don't come back to the United States.
These individuals, Alvarado, stole the most precious thing we have, that is a human life. No parent wants to lose their child before its time, and the worst thing that can happen is for us to see a child die. And when this young lady was murdered by these criminals, they stole everything she was and everything she will be, and that ought not to be. That should hopefully make us, as a body, do something about cross-border crime. The time is now.
And that's just the way it is.
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