David Maya will spend as much as 25 years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl in West Virginia this summer. Then he will go home - to Mexico.
Maya, 24, was living in Maryland when he used the Internet to stalk the girl, then went to Wheeling, W. Va., to rape her. He recently pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 6 to 25 years in prison. Let's hope he serves the full quarter-century behind bars. Once Maya leaves prison, he will be deported to Mexico.
His case is far from unique. Similar crimes in which illegal immigrants raped children have been in the headlines throughout the United States just during the past few months. Sexual assault cases in Tennessee, North Carolina, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Missouri and California were found in a brief search.
It is a topic some researchers have investigated, with some of them worrying the statistics they find will prompt some Americans to stereotype illegal immigrants. That would not be fair or intelligent, of course. As many as 11 million illegal immigrants live in the United States. The overwhelming majority of them break no laws except for those against their presence here.
But there is a problem, according to a study by the Violent Crimes Institute in Atlanta, Ga. According to a published report, researchers there found there are tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who are sex offenders in the United States. About 2 percent of the illegal immigrants detained by the authorities are sex offenders, according to the study.
States have sex offender registries to keep track of men and women who may pose threats to society. Maya and people like him should be on the registries, and federal officials should establish a database of illegal immigrants convicted of sex crimes. It should be checked every time a repeat illegal immigrant is caught - and sex offenders who come back to this country should be locked up for life.