The Poor Timing Is Not the Issue

On October 3rd, The Greely Tribune in Colorado published this tragic story

In the small white and brown house on 5th Street, it’s quiet. The Bustillos family hasn’t been here much in the past day, rushing from one hospital to another, preparing to bury two sons, making sure their other children will make it.

Monday afternoon, when 17-year-old Tania Bustillos was driving her two brothers and her daughter home from school, she ran a stop sign on a county road north of Greeley. The horrifying crash sent all of them to hospitals. Enrique Bustillos, 15, died at a Denver hospital late Monday. Twelve-year-old Miguel died Tuesday at Children’s Hospital in Denver.

Tania is recovering at North Colorado Medical Center, but family members said they would probably disconnect her daughter, 3-month-old Destiny, from life support at Children’s Hospital in Denver.

It is probably safe to assume that most people would grieve for this family’s loss and most likely wouldn’t write a letter to the paper demanding to know if those killed were in the country legally.  

Republican Representative Dave Schultheis would not be among them

Just finished reading your article today “Greeley Family Copes…”This is a horrible tragedy.

My questions to you are: Was the driver properly licensed? Was the vehicle properly registered, and insured? Why aren’t these facts part of your published article?

Was this person the child of parents in the U.S illegally? Or was she here illegally?

I am extremely concerned with the dramatic rise in crime caused by those illegally in this country over the past 10 – 15 years or so.

Why is it that the investigative reports we read in the papers and see on T.V. do not point out the fact that these accidents and the resulting cost to taxpayers (hospitalization, etc.) are a direct result of our lax immigration policies and enforcement?

Representative Dave Schultheis, HD 14
Schultheis for Senate Dist. 9
Colorado Springs, CO. 80919

Needless to say, the family was outraged by Schultheis’s attempt to score political points off of their loss, but Schultheis was unapologetic

Last week, Schultheis was quoted as saying he regretted the timing of his questions. Blaming the Tribune for blindsiding him, the representative said he did not know that the accident had just occurred and that the baby had died the day he sent his e-mail on behalf of a constituent.

Bryant Adams, spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party, said Thursday that Schultheis continues to lament his timing.

“Immigration is an important issue to people all over Colorado that will not go away, but Representative Schultheis chose a poor time to bring it up,” Adams said. “I know he’s apologetic that he brought it up then.”

Schultheis claimed he read the article in question – it was what he was responding to, after all – so now saying that he “did not know that the accident had just occurred” doesn’t pass the smell test.  Blaming the paper and regretting only the “timing” of the letter was not a satisfactory response – especially since the “timing” was entirely of his own doing – so now the Bustillos Family is openly asking for an apology  

Mr. Schultheis, we pray that God provide some sensitivity upon your soul. As a public official, you could have decided to wait for the completion of an investigation yet you chose to make inquiries on the same day that one of our children was being taken off life support. To shift responsibility of your words and actions to a newspaper is unbecoming of an elected official.

Mr. Schultheis, the Bustillos Family asks you:

1. How many other times have you asked these specific questions concerning accidents throughout the entire state?

2. Why not wait until an investigation was completed before making inquiries?

3. Did you verify the legal status of the “constituent” that contacted you regarding this accident?

4. More importantly, what information did you and your “constituent” use as a base to inquire about our deceased children’s status in this Country?

5. Is it your position that all Latinos should be assumed “illegal aliens” unless proven otherwise?

To answer your questions, yes — the car was properly registered and insured. Tania followed the required State of Colorado protocol to obtain a driving permit. ALL THE CHILDREN INVOLVED IN THIS ACCIDENT ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS with the same rights as you and your constituent (if the inquiring person is an American citizen). Their mother, Grasiela, is also an AMERICAN CITIZEN. Their father is a LEGAL RESIDENT.

Mr. Schultheis, with this letter we seek answers and a public apology from you. We wish to avoid further grief upon other families during tragic times.

Here are the answers you seek. Mr. Schultheis, we await your prompt reply to our questions. God bless you.


Note to Schultheis: Writing an accusatory letter to the paper immediately after reading an article reporting the loss of three lives is not a smart idea, but apologizing as soon as possible certainly is.