Tragic death exposes illegal immigrant

Contributed by Mary Gasque

The State Newspaper’s reports about Neida Ortega, the woman who was responsible for the death of Columbia firefighter Chance Zobel were upsetting on so many different levels.

The State reported that Ms. Ortega has been living in the United States for 10 years and that she did not have a SC (US issued) driver’s license.  She did have a driver’s license issued in Mexico either.  The articles (here, here and here) further stated that she was picked up at her home before going to work and that her husband had to interpret for her.

I love my life in the United States and I am glad that I live in a country that allows outsiders to live here and be successful.  Other cultures enhance who we are.  However, you are required to do certain things when you come here to live.  You must do the same that is required of us  – register, become a citizen, speak our language, pay taxes, put money back into the very system that makes us who and what we are.

The State stated that Ms. Ortega worked.  Anybody know where?  And how did she get a job without the proper papers.  Employers are required, by law, to have employees complete and keep on file an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) published by the US Department of Justice.  Does her former employer have this form?  If she worked as a domestic, did her employer withhold taxes or pay quarterly taxes on her wages?  If not, why?

She was driving without a license, which means she didn’t have insurance.  Are the rules different for illegal immigrants than for US citizens?  Our law requires that you have insurance.  Period.

In 10 years did Ms. Ortega ever go to the doctor?  The hospital?  If so, what kind of identification did she give?  Who paid her doctor and hospital bills?   I’m betting we did.

Did Ms. Ortega receive government assistance?  Would really like to know the answer to this question.  If so, how did she get it?

What else do we not know about Ms. Ortega?  Didn’t anybody at any time question her legality?  What happened to the system that was put in place to protect our citizens.  Our system failed Chance Zobel.   Shame on us.

Perhaps The State Newspaper would like to continue covering this story to find some solid answers.


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