President Obama commented on the controversial killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in a widely noticed Mar. 23 press availability.
The president has yet to comment, however, on another shooting victim whose death is connected to an administration immigration policy and may pose problems for his reelection campaign.
On Jan. 2, 2011, Kesler Dufrene is alleged by local police to have shot and killed 15-year-old Ashley Chow in Miami.
Dufrene, a 23-year-old illegal immigrant from Haiti, was convicted on burglary charges in 2006.
Already on probation for stealing a car, he pled guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
The Miami Herald reported that in August 2007 a U.S. immigration judge ordered Dufrene to be deported to Haiti when his sentence was up.
However, the Obama administration halted deportations to Haiti following that nation’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
Dufrene was released in October of that year, three months prior to the January 2011 shooting that killed Chow and two others.
Dufrene shot and killed himself 18 days later, after he was pursued by police.
Immigration authorities did not have to release Dufrene, despite the administration’s order to stop deportations to Haiti. In 2001, and again in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that illegal immigrants unable to be deported could still be detained for up to six months.
The incident received scant media attention, but it was found newsworthy earlier this year by BuzzFeed, which headlined its story: "Is this Barack Obama’s Willie Horton?"
That was a reference to the convicted murderer who, while serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Massachusetts, was released under a weekend furlough program, did not return, and went on to commit rape and assault.
The furlough program was supported by then-Governor Michael Dukakis (D., Mass.), who lost the 1988 president race to George H.W. Bush.
An infamous television advertisement depicting Horton is widely credited with helping to sink Dukakis’ candidacy.