For Shaw Sr., these stories are all too familiar. His son Jamiel Shaw Jr. seemed to have the world at his feet in 2008. Only a Junior in high school, Shaw Jr. was the star running back, corner back, and kick and punt returner on his football team. He was already being recruited by schools like Stanford and Rutgers.
“He was disciplined, a good kid, and got a long with everybody,” remembers Jamiel Shaw Sr. of his son. On March 2, 2008, Shaw Jr. was walking home from school when a car approached him. Pedro Espinoza, an illegal alien who is part of the brutal 18th Street Gang, stepped out the car, approached Shaw, shot him once in the stomach, and then walked behind Shaw and shot him in the back of his head.
To make the tragedy even worse, Jamiel Shaw’s mother, Sergeant Anita Shaw, was serving in Iraq at the time of his murder.
Espinoza was released from Los Angeles County Prison on unrelated charges only a day earlier. LA County Prison officials failed to notify ICE he was being detained. (Pedro Espinoza was recently convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to the death penalty)
“That’s what happened to my son, someone decided not to check,” said Shaw Sr. He continued, “If they had to call ICE, my son would have been alive.”
With Secure Communities, such deadly discretion is taken away from local law enforcement. Even though every one of the fifty-eight counties in California is signed up with Secure Communities, AB 1081 will make that cooperation moot. That’s because AB 1081 will end cooperation between the State of California and ICE on detainers on all but the most extreme cases.
Jamiel Shaw Sr. believes that if it becomes law more families will go through the same tragedy.
“I’m trying to prevent other people from going through this.”
AB 1081 passed the mostly Democratic California legislature in August and now it awaits the signature of California Governor Jerry Brown. Jamiel Shaw Sr. is hopeful but he’s also realistic.
“Do I expect him to veto it, no.”
Even as the Shaw family battles against AB 1081, they’ve also fought a largely fruitless battle to strengthen California’s immigration laws. They helped to craft Jamiel’s Law, which would have mandated that all illegal alien gang members in California be turned over to immigration authorities upon apprehension, along with earmarking more state resources to help police track down and apprehend illegal alien gang members. While this law appears to be easy to support, Jamiel Shaw Sr. said he’s been unable to get anyone from the California legislature to champion it.
The Shaw family has been trying to get the necessary signatures to get Jamiel’s Law on the California ballot, effectively sidestepping the California legislature. Thus far, they’ve been unable to get the necessary seventy-six thousand signatures necessary to get a proposed law on the ballot. Jamiel Shaw Sr. said he remains undaunted.
“I’ll fight for Jamiel’s Law until the day I die,” said the elder Shaw.
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