From The Ruddigore Fallacy Files: “60 Minutes” Seeks Sympathy For Another Deported “Good Illegal Immigrant”

Earlier installments regarding the deportation of “good” illegal immigrants are here, here, here, and here. We are cursed to hear about these until the stars turn cold.

“60 Minutes” showed viewers the sad story of Roberto Beristain, an illegal immigrant deported to Mexico after being in the U.S. for nearly 20 years. This was part of the news media’s ongoing anti-Trump assault, as well as an effort to pull at the public’s heartstrings while paralyzing its brains.

The CBS news magazine gathered Beristain’s family and friends in Granger, Indiana so they could express their frustration that someone with no criminal record like Roberto could be separated from his wife and children, who are all citizens.

“It just feels wrong,” Kimberly Glowacki said. Michelle Craig said she voted for President Trump, but did so because he promised to deport dangerous criminals. “This is not the person he said he would deport,” she said. “The community is better “for having someone like Beristain in it.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. While the President emphasized that the nation’s passive enforcement of illegal immigration allowed dangerous criminals to enter the nation, he never suggested that “good illegal immigrants” should be allowed to break our immigration laws with impunity, as long as they became law abiding illegal citizens. What did Michelle think the wall was all about? Did she think it would somehow let good illegal immigrants in while stopping the “bad hombres”?

Beristain was as much of a border-jumper success story as the there is, a former cook and new owner of a popular Granger restaurant , “Eddie’s Steak Shed,” that employs about 20 people.  He had no criminal record in the U.S.. He entered the U.S. in 1998 illegally but had been issued a temporary work permit, Social Security number and drivers license under the Obama administration, an irresponsible policy that sent a “Illegals Welcome!” message to the world. The Trump administration, to its credit, has ended this cynical nonsense. If you are here illegally, you are subject to deportation at any time, and should be. The argument that by being a “good” illegal after you get here somehow erases the fact that you shouldn’t be here is what has been named “The Ruddigore Fallacy.” To refresh your memory:

The Ruddigore Fallacy: Also known as “moral licensing,” the Ruddigore Fallacy is the belief that unethical conduct can be erased with sufficient good conduct by the same person or organization, and that, sufficient good conduct entitles a group or individual to engage in unethical conduct with less criticism and negative consequences than a less accomplished individual or group should receive for the same misconduct.

In the excellent Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Ruddigore, W.S. Gilbert properly lampooned this unethical concept.  A family curse compels a baronet to commit a crime a day. In the operetta’s first act, the current victim of the curse, Despard Murgatroyd, explains his scheme to foil the curse:

“I get my crime over the first thing in the morning, and then, ha! ha! for the rest of the day I do good! I do good! I do good! Two days since, I stole a child… built an orphan asylum.  Yesterday I robbed a bank…and endowed a bishopric.  To-day I carry off Rose Maybud and atone with a cathedral!”

(“Ruddigore” is also my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan show.)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement  told “60 Minutes”  that Beristain was deported for having a “final order of removal” against him. He had obtained a temporary deferral of the order three years ago, “60 Minutes” said, and had checked in once a year with the government.

Trump’s supporters in Granger made various statements that show 1) people hear what they want to hear, 2) a lot of Trump voters weren’t thinking clearly and 3) bias, in this case bias for a friend, makes you stupid.

Granger resident Dave Keck:

“I voted for [Trump] because he said he was going to get rid of the bad hombres. Roberto is a good hombre.”

No, he’s a 20 year mostly good hombre but still a bad hombre for living in the U.S. illegally. Good hombres don’t break laws just because it’s advantageous. Having the rule of law doesn’t allow ignoring violators just because they seem like nice people.

Matt Leliaert:

“I mean, he showed up here with just the shirt on his back and he’s a restaurant owner 20 years later … and he worked his butt off to get there”

Think, Matt. Think. Do you really want a policy in which anyone is free to come here illegally without consequences as long as they work hard and obey the law after they get across the border? Does that really make sense to you? (Admittedly, this is the stated policy preference of Jeb Bush and John Kasich, which is among the reasons we should be glad neither is in the White House

Helen Beristain, wife of the dearly deported:

“The only bad thing he’s done is stayed in the United States because he loves this country. That’s his only crime.” 

You mean “stayed in the country illegally,” Helen. If someone steals you car, do you think “I really love that car” should exonerate him?

As Baretta (acquitted wife-killing actor Robert Blake) used to say, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

I have more sympathy for deported illegal immigrants like Helen’s husband than I do for deported illegals who have continued to break laws here, but more sympathy than none is still not every much.


Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

34 responses to “From The Ruddigore Fallacy Files: “60 Minutes” Seeks Sympathy For Another Deported “Good Illegal Immigrant”

  1. “Helen Beristain, wife of the dearly deported.”

    That made me chuckle. I needed it.


    • I think if this is to be an on-going series, it should always start the title with “Dearly Deported…”

    • Rusty Rebar

      Is Helen not a citizen? I thought being married to a US Citizen gives you the ability to stay in the country.

      • You still have to go through the process, which includes being in another country to start out.

        I have friends who married foreign nationals, and the process can take months, and includes visits and interviews in the US Consulate where they reside.

        What this guy did was illegal, and he never tried to go the legal route, according to the story.

        • Rusty Rebar

          Ahh, I see. So does this mean that he will never be able to get in, or does he just have to go through the process? I assume since he was kicked out and all that he would be screwed now.

        • Isaac

          My wife and I went through the process. I took nearly a year, thousands of dollars, and the government requiring everything from her family documents to our love letters. Also we attended multiple hearings, individually and as a couple.

          Still, we both lived meager lifestyles and managed to pull it off. I feel bad for the guy, but only in the way that I feel bad for all sorts of people who get busted for their bad decisions.

  2. fattymoon

    There’s sympathy. There’s empathy. And then there’s compassion. Everyone here is free to choose.

  3. I have seen a bunch of these tear-ladened stories and I wonder if they ‘dearly deported’ had any kind of immigration representation. The rules and procedures are weird, arcane, and filled with confusion but immigration lawyers are usually pretty good at figuring out waivers or relief from removal orders, especially where the soon-to-be-departed has not committed any kind of felony that renders them removable. If Beristain had been subject to a final removal order, that must mean he had been in removal proceedings and the immigration process determined he was not entitled to relief or cancellation of removal.

    There are steps all along the way to seek relief under the immigration laws, even during the actual removal proceeding. For instance, this fellow married a US citizen. Can’t he adjust his status after marriage by following the rules? He may have to return to his home country and deal with the US consulate or embassy to get a visa, and then follow the adjustment procedures once he is here but that is the way the process works.

    I get that these are sad stories, but according to Hillary Clinton, laws have to be enforced for them to mean anything.


    • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

      If indeed this guy went through some kind of appeal process through the INS, and knowing the glacial pace of every government agency and justice system, I wonder if he was going through this process before Trump was inaugurated, much less elected.

      If after 20 years in the US he didn’t know about all possible remedies for his situation, then tough, buddy. If he did know and was still deported, I say ‘tough’ there, too. He was illegally in the US, regardless of for how long and how ‘good’ or ‘productive’ he was.

      Deciding that laws should be enforced based on some subjective analysis of if or how the perpetrator should be punished is a really slippery slope.
      And this is just another way for disenchanted liberals to go after Trump.

      (Unless, of course, the perpetrator is allowed to skate by becoming a “confidential informant’… which is another issue entirely. I really HATE that little deal the police and justice systems make all of the time. This IS a subjective decision that a law-breaker might “serve the public better” by not being punished but inform on other criminals. Maybe if Berinstain agreed to ‘out’ other illegals he would have gotten some deal…)

      In any case, it’s just too bad that he didn’t spend his 20 years here trying to rectify his situation, and not remain illegal and putting his life and entire family at risk. He had TWENTY YEARS, for pete’s sake

      • I agree with you, E2. I know the legalities of immigration law can seem weird, something the news stories completely ignore (most probably because the law would defeat the narrative), but have done immigration cases, I know there are options, and yes, those options are difficult but, shouldn’t a foreign national have to jump through legal hoops to acquire citizenship, or at least be in status?


        • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

          Absolutely. And because he entered this country illegally, he should feel damn lucky that despite that there are remedies he could pursue. Other countries would (1) have identified him sooner and (2) just boot him out. Period.

  4. Other Bill

    Why doesn’t the entire family move to Mexico? It’s a great place. The family can sell his restaurant in Granger and they can all start a brand new one in Mexico. The family can live happily ever after there, together. The kids will be bilingual and can have dual citizenship. Mexicans are proud of their homeland. It must be a great place. After all, it’s not the U.S. so it has to be more enlightened.

    • You are on a roll today, OB. (Tomorrow we try biscuits.)

      Your point is well taken. Mexico, after all, protects it’s southern border.

      • Other Bill

        SW, I just think there are so many practical solutions to these sorts of supposedly confounding situations. A little unconventional (straightforward?) thinking can go a long way much of the time.

    • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

      Not a bad idea. Mexico has been subjected to an unfair “single story” — whereby all Mexicans are portrayed as poverty-stricken, unproductive, and/or criminal, and just chomping at the bit to leave. That is simply not true. The problem with stereotypes — I learned from a TED talk by a Nigerian author — is not that they are incorrect, but that they are INCOMPLETE. (I can post her speech if anyone is interested.)

      So the characterization of all Mexicans as objects of pity, who deserve a pass on US immigration law, is a single story that supports a stereotype that is just flat-out wrong. If this guy had the wherewithal to start up and maintain a successful business in the US over 20 years, surely he had the wherewithal (intellectually, emotionally, financially) to rectify his illegal status by the means available to him. So what does that do to the “but he’s a good guy” argument?

      I have no sympathy here. This guy proved that he could take care of himself: why then did he not address his immigration status before he was found and deported?

      Beats me. But thousands/millions of others deserve our time and attention, don’t you think?

      • Other Bill

        Thanks E2. I’m just amazed the way living in Mexico is the equivalent of capital punishment or waterboarding. If it is such a horrible place to live, why aren’t the Mexicans doing something to remedy the situation? Drives me nuts.

  5. Breaking the law is criminal… end of story. It has no statute of limitation or ‘free pass’ for good behavior.

    • dragin_dragon

      Been saying that for years, slick. That I know of, I have yet to convince a liberal of it.

      • Sue Dunim

        Are you certain you have never committed a crime for which you haven’t been punished?

        • Point?


          I mean really…

          We’ve had the discussion about the Byzantine system of laws in the United States (thanks government overreach). But, though two sets of conduct may be equally breaking the law and equally punishable, there is something different about *knowingly* breaking the law and not knowingly breaking the law.

          • Thanks to bureaucrats writing rules (in secret, sometimes) that have the force of law, every person down to the smallest baby is technically a criminal.

            And that is how they want it.

            • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

              Ask Marshall (and I do, too) about advertent and inadvertent law-breaking and the concept of MORAL LUCK…

  6. Wayne

    This sort of reminds me of the TV series “The Fugitive” in which the noble Dr. Richard Kimble is pursued by the cops for a crime he did not commit!! All Berinstain’s wife needs to do is come up with a story about a one armed man who was the real illegal alien.

  7. FO

    The 60 minutes story does not make sense. As far as I know, even if the husband came into the US illegally, if the wife is a citizen, she can sponsor the husband to get a greencard. There is more to it in the story that was not told, and I’m not sure what it is.

    Someone that is here illegally can still get green card, once married to a US citizen.

    • We covered that in the comments. Obviously, whatever he had to do to stay legally, he didn’t do.


      It used to be that if you were a border crosser, or illegal immigrant you could get a green card after marrying a US citizen as long as you paid a fine. That changed on April 30, 2001 when section 245(i) of the Immigration Act was removed from the law, after which undocumented immigrants had to remain undocumented –even if they were married to a legal US citizen.

      We waited for over a decade for a solution, and finally, in March 2013, 601A Waivers emerged.
      WHAT IS A 601A WAIVER?

      A 601A Waiver allows border crossers (and other immigrants unable to seek green cards in the US) to apply to Immigration for a review of their file on the grounds of extreme hardship to their US Citizen Spouses.

      Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:

      Family ties in the United States of the US Citizen Spouse
      Health of the US Citizen Spouse
      Length of residence in the United States of the US Citizen Spouse
      Conditions in the county to which the Border Crosser would be returned
      Married Couple’s financial status – business/economic status
      Border Crosser’s immigration history


      If a 601A Waiver is granted, the border crosser or undocumented person married to the US citizen goes back to his/her home country, has an interview at a US Embassy and quickly re-enters the US to return to his wife/husband and family, approved for a green card! (Certain other conditions apply)

      An important rule: The border crosser or undocumented immigrant must leave the US to obtain an immigrant visa abroad when ineligible to apply for a green card in the US.

      Those who accrue more than 6 months of unlawful presence are subject to a bar to re-entry for 3 years, or a 10 year bar for those in the US unlawfully for a year or more.

      Before the 601A waiver, an application to waive this bar could not be filed until after an applicant attended an immigrant visa interview abroad. The alien had to be separated from his family for years, during adjudication of the waiver.

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