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Some see Hugo Diaz case as referendum on national immigration issue

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 11:51 AM
Last updated Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:58 AM
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From the beginning, the Hugo Diaz case has served as a referendum on national immigration issues. Tuesday’s sentence hearing in federal court was no exception.

Hugo Diaz
Hugo Diaz

The Evans-based homebuilder was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for harboring illegal aliens after an hour-long hearing that included a reading of the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty and a condemnation of hiring practices that hurt American businesses.

“This case reveals to all of us the difficulties we face as a nation with the issue of immigration,” U.S. District Judge Randal Hall said.

At one table was Diaz, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and shackled at the feet, who represented the estimated 8.4 million immigrants who came to the United States illegally in 2000. Diaz said in court Tuesday that he came in pursuit of better opportunities for his family, but only expected to stay a short while.

Four years into his stay, his wife, Blanca, crossed the border with their two sons and they moved to a trailer in Columbia County in 2005.

Diaz worked hard to establish his businesses, De La Fuente Contractors and Miranda Contractors. Brian McEvoy, his attorney, said in court Tuesday that FBI agents performing surveillance on Diaz would stay out until 2 a.m. watching him in his office.

McEvoy, a former federal prosecutor, said his attitude toward immigration has changed since representing Diaz and learning his story. In making his case to reduce the sentence, McEvoy included tax documents in his court papers that show Diaz paid more than $500,000 in state and federal taxes between 2005 and 2010.

The profits from Diaz’s businesses, which hired undocumented workers, eventually earned him more than $3 million in real property and other assets, all of which the federal government has claimed under forfeiture law.

“He’s a hardworking individual and an honest individual,” McEvoy said.

What seemed to bother Diaz more than confinement and losing his property was the prospect of being deported and separated from his two teenage sons and America. “My American dream is over,” Diaz said in heavily accented English.

Hall expressed limited sympathy from the bench. As a husband and a father, Hall acknowledged the urge to make a better life for your family. But in a stern, 10-minute statement, Hall outlined all the harmful consequences of entering the country illegally and why he took it seriously.

America has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants, but “we lump those who come here legally with those who disrespect our laws and do not wait in line...to pursue the American dream,” Hall said.

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RoadkiII
6445
Points
RoadkiII 05/16/12 - 12:14 pm
7
1
“He’s a hardworking individual and an honest individual,” McEvoy

If he is so honest, why did he, and apparently his family, enter the country illegally? Why was he preying on his fellow illegals? There you have it folks, a new definition of honest.

whiteflighttocc1
20
Points
whiteflighttocc1 05/16/12 - 12:43 pm
0
0
get em out!!!! They cant
Unpublished

get em out!!!! They cant play by our rules they have no business here. there are legal citizens here to we should deport to california and make all of them stay in california with their liberal buddies. the rest of the country would be better off.

Sweet son
9682
Points
Sweet son 05/16/12 - 12:44 pm
7
1
Send the Diaz family back!!!

He has basically stolen from the American system and committed a great disservice to his fellow illegal Mexicans. If he came illegally then send him and his family back if they too came illegally. Who cares if he paid taxes that doesn't do away with the fact that he was using illegal labor. Finally why waste any more money housing him in a Federal prison for 15 months. Take him to the border, put him out of the vehicle and point South.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 05/16/12 - 01:08 pm
0
0
What part of illegal does he
Unpublished

What part of illegal does he not understand? Ship him back across the border!!

REDRIDER
134
Points
REDRIDER 05/17/12 - 07:19 am
4
1
American Dream?

People Hired this guy knowing that his labor was cheaper enabling the man to get his so called American Dream. There lucky the Feds did not confiscate there ill gotten homes he built as evidence to conspire harboring illegal aliens.

georgiagirl530
22
Points
georgiagirl530 05/16/12 - 04:16 pm
0
2
My comment was removed

My comment was removed because of why????? Oh I know.... It was the truth and whoever removed it knew it too

Sean Moores
832
Points
Sean Moores 05/16/12 - 04:29 pm
2
0
We didn't remove your comment georgiagirl530

Not only that, as far as I can tell you have never had a comment removed.

scostelloxox
27
Points
scostelloxox 05/16/12 - 05:17 pm
1
6
if yall really knew this man,

if yall really knew this man, yall would know everything yall are saying isn't true, but yall didnt know him yall want to go by what the news & newspaper says. they had no clue about it, they wanted to pretend they knew what was really going on but just lastnight they posted an article about him saying he had three charges, and he only has one .. can't go by what this bs says. he wasnt harboring illegals, none lived in their house but there family. yall are all so ridiculous.. He was a very hard working man, he did anything and everything he could for his family.

Sweet son
9682
Points
Sweet son 05/16/12 - 06:47 pm
6
0
scostell how can you?

How can you defend this man?? It seems that he is an illegal alien and he has used the American system to make money and use his fellow Mexicans! I have no problem with immigration but not by climbing over the fence or wall to get into the USA. If he and his family want to go back and start over and do it the legal way and use legal labor I have no problem!!

vinnydelicious
72
Points
vinnydelicious 05/16/12 - 09:53 pm
5
2
Message to illegals

You can mow our lawns, build our houses, take care of our children, Just don't make more money than us. The only reason ccso/feds went after this guy is because he had lots of assets. Let's see them go after all the illegals and their enablers with the same vigor.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/16/12 - 10:05 pm
1
4
GGirl, your comment was on a

GGirl, your comment was on a different article regarding Hugo.

And oh, BS to most of these comments:) except your's Sean:)

fred napurano
7
Points
fred napurano 05/16/12 - 10:20 pm
5
0
what referendum ?

there's no debate here. there's no referendum here. there's only a family of illegal aliens here. and this illegal alien hired additional illegals to work for him, compounding his crime.

diaz claimed that he'll mostly miss being separated from his two teenaged sons, after he's finally deported. however, he didn't seem to mind being separated from them when he enter my country the first time. he separated himself from his children for 4 years.

my suggestion is that our courts permit his family to remain whole - by deporting them all. that's what i call real immigration reform.

itsanotherday1
40158
Points
itsanotherday1 05/16/12 - 10:53 pm
5
0
Paid $500K in taxes?

Think about how much more tax would have been collected from legal workers. That dog won't hunt; and I don't care how hard working he is, he contributed heavily to an acute problem we have in the U.S. I've met the man and he is a nice guy, but again, his cheap labor put a lot of local construction people in the soup line.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/16/12 - 11:33 pm
2
4
IAD , he was not cheap, only

IAD , he was not cheap, only better. Sorry, you just can hardly browbeat many American laborers to work. Many of those in the soup line are actually there for a reason. The trades are literally dying off. It just ain't your daddy's or grand daddy's work force anymore.

Abbynoll
282
Points
Abbynoll 05/16/12 - 11:47 pm
2
3
Bullseye, Willow!

Bullseye, Willow!

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 05/17/12 - 08:26 am
0
0
Sparks a debate? Are you

Sparks a debate? Are you kidding? This debate has been a raging fire for years.

Rob Pavey
533
Points
Rob Pavey 05/17/12 - 09:28 am
0
2
If every 'legitimate'

If every 'legitimate' contractor who so resented Hugo's success would show up on time, complete projects on schedule and never raise the price after work is under way, I wonder if he could have built the following he had.

Right on
143
Points
Right on 05/17/12 - 09:46 am
2
0
He is given the easy ride as

He is given the easy ride as he has done too much work for the wealthy ones in our community. I do not think anyone wants names to come out as it is embarrasing.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/17/12 - 09:53 am
0
2
No. Rob, he could not have.

No. Rob, he could not have. There are major deficits in framing, roofing, masonry, tile work and landscaping with black and white Americans.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/17/12 - 10:07 am
0
2
Ask the farmers; we really

Ask the farmers; we really do have a labor crisis in this country. Kind of interesting that we don't want them in our country, but are becoming dependent on them to do our work. Perhaps we've made the process of legal entry too difficult and time consuming or perhaps we should cut out some welfare programs and put deadbeats out of our country.

dichotomy
30496
Points
dichotomy 05/17/12 - 10:12 am
0
1
I am as against illegal

I am as against illegal immigration as most folks. I think we should seal the border tighter than Dick's hat band with armed federal agents.

It is curious however that when we decide to actually prosecute, jail, deport, and confiscate the property of an illegal already in the country we pick on one that has been successful, paid taxes, and apparently did good work. You don't see this effort to punish and deport the millions here with a with a wife and 3 kids on welfare and medicaid. The Feds make no effort to deport those folks at all. Could it be that the only reason they went after Diaz is that he was stepping on the toes of influential local contractors who could not compete with him on price, service, quality, and dependability? At least this guy was paying his own way which is more than I can say for about half of our working non-tax paying "citizens".

I guess the Feds are only concerned with the illegals that come here and make money and pay taxes as opposed to the ones that come here and live off of the taxpayers. They apparently get a free pass since they don't make waves by competing with anyone.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 05/17/12 - 10:49 am
0
0
first his construction was
Unpublished

first his construction was not better.....he was involving in smuggling workers...he harbored them where in turn they HAD to work for him for free to pay their debt to the ones that got him here...in court he was compared to a slaver....secondly due to his free labor and shoddy construction a house that cost 200,000 to build he would do it for 100,000.....tell ya what GO TAKE A LOOK AS SOME OF HIS MASTERFUL WORK.....roofs sagging, leaks, and very questionalbe foundations that will have to be repaired.....he was involved in human trafficing and MONEY LAUNDERING.....this man is NOT the example of a immigrants dreams come true from hard work.....this is an example of a criminal taking advantage of his fellow people and turning them into indentured servants so he could live in a million dollar mansion

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/17/12 - 10:50 am
0
1
Dichotomy, excellent comment.

Dichotomy, excellent comment. I'm not sure anyone was motivated to investigate because of some whining. I do think attention was brought to Diaz because of the home he built for himself and the number of people and vehicles that were present.. The location, Jones Creek, was a conspicuous red flag and I am sure a constant source of chatter among residents. It most likely as you say, was the size of the PURSE that ultimately got him noticed. Had he remained poor, he'd still be here.
I hope he has a home to return to in Mexico. We really don't see the same outcry against others unless they have something we want or we feel they have taken something from us.

itsanotherday1
40158
Points
itsanotherday1 05/17/12 - 11:05 am
1
0
Yes we do

"Ask the farmers; we really do have a labor crisis in this country"

Yes we do, and I am on record as being in favor of imported labor as long as it is legal, the people are trackable, and everyone is playing on the same level field.

One problem with getting "good help" locally is the wages are driven so low by illegal workers, that people in the trades can do easier work for the same wages. Why bust your hump laying brick in the hot sun when you can drive an air conditioned auto parts delivery truck for the same wage?

The socialist left keep calling for raises in the minimum wage, and out of the other side of their mouths want to give amnesty to those illegals already here and do nothing about closing down the border. Can't have it both ways. Those folks are depressing wages, period. Their skill and work ethic are very good, but they are not healthy for our own work force.

Full disclosure: Hugo's crews did all of the sheetrock, concrete, framing, roofing, brickwork, stonework, siding, and vinyl trim for our builder; and I was more than pleased with the quality and speed of the work. ( I didn't know he was illegal at the time, but I wasn't the one hiring him anyway) However, I can't condone his undercutting of local contractors utilizing people who aren't competing with the same requirements.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/17/12 - 12:11 pm
0
1
Diaz's rates were not

Diaz's rates were not discounted. What he paid his people is unknown to me . They were evidently satisfied. Housed, clothed fed; which is greater humanity than they likely received in their own country . Hungry people work. That's why Paul said , no work no food . We had a labor problem before they arrived in this country. It's been developing since Roosevelt.
Patrol the border by all means, but cut out what isn't working here as well.

Sweet son
9682
Points
Sweet son 05/17/12 - 12:11 pm
2
0
Some of You are Right: But not many!

I still say let them in if the do it the legal way. The ones of you who are defending Mr. Diaz and many others are absolute right about the Hispanics. They will work and work hard!! The rest of use whites and blacks are too damn lazy to do any real laborious work!! Notice I included myself. But the United States systems whether it be schools, hospitals, law enforcement or even social services cannot afford to spend taxpayer resources on illegals. And also, I am not baiting anyone this is just my little editorial. Thanks!

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/17/12 - 12:18 pm
0
1
Sweet son, we also can't

Sweet son, we also can't afford to spend on those who are able and unproductive.

itsanotherday1
40158
Points
itsanotherday1 05/17/12 - 12:34 pm
2
1
Diaz's rates WERE discounted;

Diaz's rates WERE discounted; my builder told me that most of the time Hugo could do it cheaper than anyone else, and that is why he used him.

itsanotherday1
40158
Points
itsanotherday1 05/17/12 - 12:38 pm
2
0
Just ask people in the trades

Just ask people in the trades as well; they will tell you that they could not compete with him on price and operate legitimately.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 05/17/12 - 12:39 pm
2
1
I don't know your builder,

I don't know your builder, but I do know the rates.

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