Life hasn’t been the same for Mary Ann Mendoza since she lost her son Brandon in 2014 due to a car accident caused by an illegal immigrant. She shares her experience, and how she’d like our country’s border security polices to change. Read the transcript, posted below, or listen to the interview on the podcast:
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Rachel del Guidice: We’re joined on The Daily Signal podcast today by Mary Ann Mendoza, who lost her son Brandon in 2014 after his police car was hit by an intoxicated driver who was in the U.S. illegally. Mary Ann, thank you for being with us today.
Mary Ann Mendoza: Thank you for talking to me. I appreciate it.
del Guidice: Can you tell us the story of your son Brandon and what happened?
Mendoza: On May 12, 2014, he was actually on his way home from work, and a repeated illegal alien criminal who was three times the legal limit drunk, high on meth, had driven over 35 miles the wrong way on the freeways here in Phoenix, and slammed head-on into my son on his way home from work. My son ultimately ended up dying about three hours later in surgery.
del Guidice: Oh man, that is heartbreaking. Where were you when you found out what happened, and how did you feel? Can you kind of recreate that time for us?
Mendoza: I actually got a call about a quarter of three in the morning from a fellow police officer of Brandon’s who was International Guard stationed in Afghanistan. So, I got a call from Afghanistan saying, “Mom, Brandon’s been in a terrible accident.”
I was woke up out of deep sleep, and I kept trying to call Brandon’s cellphone. He wasn’t answering. And a few minutes later, the Mesa Police Department came to my house and rang the doorbell. I knew when we drove up to the hospital, the police presence there, I just knew that it wasn’t good.
That’s the day that my life changed forever. Brandon is one of four children that I have, and so a spoke of our family wheel is forever gone. We’re permanently separated.
del Guidice: Can you tell us a little bit about Brandon as a person? What was he like as a little boy, and what was he like as an adult?
Mendoza: Brandon was just full of life, and he always made everything fun. He was the glue between the siblings, and he knew very early on, probably at the time he was 14/15, that he was going to become a police officer.
That was his goal in life, and so when his dream finally came true, it was a very momentous day for him when he graduated from the police academy. At the time, he was one of the youngest recruits in the Mesa Police Academy who had ever graduated. He was very proud. I was very proud of him.
He was a modern beat cop, and he took the time to go door-to-door to a section of town that the chief had assigned him to, and he took the time to meet everybody.
He went in and reclaimed the park for the neighborhood. He got rid of all the drug dealers and had all the trees trimmed up, so the police had visual of the park. He got all new playground equipment put in there for the children. And then before his untimely death, he was planning a new ballfield in the center of the park.
So after he was killed, the community that he was working with there, just went to the city and said, “We need to name this ballfield Mendoza Park.” And so, the city went ahead with the plans and got the ballfield finished, and it’s now named Mendoza Ball Field in honor of my son and the work that he did down in that area.
del Guidice: Wow. Thank you for sharing that. It seems like … he had such a heart for the community that he was working in.
Mendoza: He did, and he spent a lot of time at the Boys and Girls Club at the Mesa Arts Academy, made sure that the children knew the importance of staying in school, staying out of gangs, staying away from drugs.
He would spend his own money and go and get pizza or ice cream for them after he had spent his time off playing kickball with them in the park. He bought Christmas presents for children in the area, who weren’t going to have a very good Christmas.
In fact, before he was killed, he had already bought three bikes for grandchildren who were being raised by their grandparents. That Christmas, those bikes were presented to the children, and they knew they came from Sgt. Brandon Mendoza.
He did have an annual Thanksgiving dinner every year, too. I have continued that tradition, and had an annual Thanksgiving dinner this year. We will be having it in 2019 to honor homeless veterans, and it’s the Mendoza Thanksgiving Dinner here in Mesa.
del Guidice: Wow, that is beautiful. So, what is your opinion on border security, and what kind of reforms do you think should be enacted to stop things like your son’s death from happening?
Mendoza: The thing that really catapulted me into this fight was the leniency that’s shown to illegal aliens in our court system, because my son’s killer was a repeat illegal alien criminal, and that is what you hear so many times.
A lot of these Angel Families, their loved ones have been killed by an illegal alien who’s already committed a crime in our country, was shown leniency or served no jail for the crime they committed, that you or I would be in jail for. So, that kind of catapulted me into this.
This problem has gotten so much bigger than Congress and the Senate even know what to do with. It’s like a dirty kitchen. You go into it and it’s like, where do you start? That’s what it’s become for Congress, because they just let it go for decades and it’s an overwhelming problem.
But the first thing that I think that needs to happen is, we have to secure our border. Because you deport a criminal, and you don’t have a secure border, and they’re right back over. How many times have we heard recently of an illegal alien criminal who’s been deported six, seven, 17 times, 20 times, and they’re back here committing more crimes?
We’ve got to secure the border. We’ve got to be able to have a way to deport them and know they’re going to stay out of our country. We have over 900,000 illegal alien felons roaming our streets set for deportation that haven’t been deported yet.
Then, we need to start doing increased interior enforcement. That’s why Angel Families are working so hard with the Sheriffs of America to enforce the 287(g) program, which has local law enforcement working with ICE, because so many of these sanctuary cities and sanctuary counties and states, they don’t want to cooperate with ICE because they say immigration’s a federal problem.
This is an American problem, and it’s coming to a city and a state and a county near you. So people, stand up for your rights, for your protection that you deserve in our country, and demand that your police departments and your sheriff’s departments work with ICE and enact the 287(g) program.
del Guidice: What is your response to opposition from the left on border security, including people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has said that a border wall is immoral?
Mendoza: It’s funny how now all of a sudden that Trump has announced that he was contemplating sending illegal aliens who were coming across our border to sanctuary cities, and mainly to a sanctuary state like California, it’s now becoming an issue for them. Because they know the magnitude of them coming over the border and they don’t want those people in their cities and states, in reality.
Angel Families has actually started a campaign. It’s called Blood on Your Hands, and it’s #bloodonyourhands—which I’m using on Twitter and I’m using on Facebook, on our Twitter and Facebook pages, calling out these politicians who are supporting sanctuary policies, who are against securing our border, and who are fighting our president at every step of the way.
I’m calling them out, because every American that’s killed by an illegal alien criminal has left their blood on these politicians’ and elected officials’ hands.
del Guidice: What would you say to someone who says that most illegal immigrants don’t commit crimes, so we shouldn’t be focused on these rare tragedies?
Mendoza: They’re not rare tragedies. Over 4,300 Americans are killed every year by illegal alien criminals in our country. Sept. 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people were killed, and that was a huge tragedy, and people couldn’t believe the loss of life. This is happening annually, more than what’s happened in 9/11.
Over 63,000 Americans have been killed since 9/11. In the Vietnam War, we lost 58,220 Americans on foreign soil, and people can’t even believe that loss of life. Over 63,000 Americans have died on our homeland because of an ineptness of our politicians in this country to come together not as Democrats or Republicans, but to come together as American politicians, and to protect their citizens.
They are stepping over dead American bodies every time they are fighting for an illegal alien, and for their rights, and for their protection. They’re stepping over my son’s body every time they’re doing something like that.
del Guidice: What is your perspective on a lot of the media coverage that we’ve seen? I was talking to another Angel parent recently, and he was telling me about rape trees, and I was telling him I’d never hear of that concept before. Can you tell us a little bit about those kinds of situations? Explain to listeners what those are and your perspective on why major outlets aren’t telling these stories.
Mendoza: The women and children who come over with these cartel and coyotes, they are forced to pay money, and they are raped along the way, and the mothers who let their teenage daughters or young girls come with these people, they do give them birth control pills. They give them the morning after pill. They know they’re going to be raped on their way to the United States. It’s not just once. It’s multiple times along the way.
This isn’t just a humanitarian problem for Americans who are being killed, and injured, and affected by illegal alien crime in our country.
By our politicians not wanting to secure our border, and by enticing these people to come to our country for the freebies that we offer, and the sanctuary policies and cities, the sanctuary, that protection we offer them, they are actually putting money, and aiding and embedding the cartel in dehumanizing these people, and abusing them along the way.
They are aiding and embedding those cartels to do these things to these women and children, and it’s wrong. It’s 100% wrong. This is another thing that Angel Families is trying to point out.
This is happening: A woman and a child who come over the border, that woman doesn’t have the money to pay the coyotes to get here, $4,000 to $8,000. Once they’re in the United States, they’re sex slaves for God knows how many years because every dime that they make in their sex slave business is going back to Mexico to pay the cartels.
Human trafficking has become a bigger money-maker for the cartel now than drug trafficking. Drugs, they’re brought over the border, sold one time, and they go back and have to manufacture more. Women and children who they can bring in here and sell for sex, it’s a constant money-maker.
These are what these politicians in D.C. who refuse to go with our president, secure the border, stop this from happening, they’re condoning this. It’s sickening.
del Guidice: Can you tell us a little bit about Angel Families, the organization itself and how it has been a support to you?
Mendoza: Angel Families, Michelle Root—whose daughter Sarah Root was killed in Omaha—she and I are co-founders of this. We co-founded it in September of last year to bring more awareness of Angel Families and the loss of their loved ones, to give them the opportunity to tell their stories.
Like I said before, we’re working on a Blood on Your Hands campaign. We want to start calling these politicians out. Real soon here, we’re going to have billboards coming up across the United States. It’s going to show pictures of our loved ones and talk about, “My son was killed by a repeat illegal alien criminal. This person was killed by a ‘Dreamer.'”
Every one of our billboards are going to have #bloodonyourhands, until Americans start realizing you’re electing politicians into office who don’t care about you. It isn’t a matter of if this is happening to you … because the odds are getting greater every day with the amount of people coming over our border.
We are going to have a huge rally in September in D.C. with sheriffs. It’s going to be called Badges and Halos. We’re going to bring awareness to the fact that Angel Families are working with sheriffs and the 287(g) program, increased interior enforcement, and stopping sanctuary policies in the United States.
Our website’s angelfamilies.com. If you’re so inclined to, please help us, go donate. We need help with travel costs. We need help with the costs of these billboards and our personal fight. We are now taking it to the public and to the politicians because we’re fighting for all your listeners. We’re fighting to make sure this doesn’t happen to them.
del Guidice: Can you tell us a little bit about how Brandon’s passing has impacted your life in a personal way?
Mendoza: Brandon was a very integral part of my family. He and I were best friends. We traveled a lot. We had a love of photography. So when he was taken from me, there was a huge part of my life that was taken.
Brandon wasn’t married at the time, and my other children are married and have kids, so their lives were a little different than Brandon’s was. So, we could afford to travel and do the things that we did together. But if this happened to me, I know this is how my son would be fighting for me. That’s just the kind of relationship that we had.
He’s inspired me to do something, to make a difference not only in my community as in carrying on his Thanksgiving dinner and doing the things that I do in his memory, but to take this fight nationally, and to try to make a difference in Americans’ lives, and to try and make a difference that our politicians will have an open heart and an open mind to hear what I have to say. …
A lot of people say, “It’s racial. You’re just doing this in a hateful way.” You know, illegal aliens aren’t a race. They’re people from all over the country, and I’m not saying anything about one particular race. I’m saying people who are illegally present in our country have got to be stopped. …
It’s not only the 63,000 Americans that have been killed since 9/11. There’s hundreds of thousands of Americans that are affected every year by assault, by rape, by identity theft, by hit and run. The crimes are mounting and getting larger and larger, the statistics every single year.
del Guidice: If you could tell Americans, fellow Americans, family, friends, people who might not realize the seriousness of this issue, why border security, why illegal immigration is such a serious issue. What would be that one thing that you would tell them?
Mendoza: Start looking into things and start educating yourself. There is a man up in Oregon, David Cross, who does statistical studies, and he gets it straight from the Oregon prison system up there. He gives the percentages per county of illegal aliens that are up there.
I post those on our Angel Families Twitter account. It’s @AngelFamilies, and people can go and look at those. It’s one county and one state in this country, and it will blow you away, the statistics.
Also, I urge your listeners to go to illegalaliencrimereport.com. That gives you the stories that you will never hear about in the mainstream media. And go to ncfire.info. That’s short for North Carolina, ncfire.info. There’s a rape epidemic going on against American children by illegal alien criminals in our country. Those monthly statistics of children being raped in North Carolina are going to absolutely disgust you.
These are the things that we need to fight for. Start educating yourself. Get on websites that give you the truth. Don’t read a headline and believe that it’s the truth. You have to know, illegal alien criminals are committing more crimes at a larger rate than American citizens are.
del Guidice: Mary Ann, thank you so much for being with us today, and for sharing your story and Brandon’s story. We really appreciate it.
Mendoza: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.