The Connecticut Law Tribune saw a spike in online visitors during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend thanks to a Twitter post from celebrity political commentator Ann Coulter.
Coulter tweeted a link to an August 2015 story about a Connecticut attorney who was pushing for immigration reforms following the murder of a Norwich woman by a Haitian immigrant who was in the country illegally.
“She was murdered in June,” Coulter wrote in her post. “I’m checking my calendar, but I’m pretty sure @realDonaldTrump was president then.”
The Tweet, posted at 11:13 p.m. Nov. 25 appeared to underscore her recent criticisms of President Donald Trump’s administration for not moving quickly enough on immigration reform.
As fact checkers quickly pointed out, the Tribune article was written in August 2015, two months after the murder of 25-year-old Casey Chadwick of Norwich, and nearly two years before Trump moved into the White House. Jean Jacques, who was previously convicted of attempted murder, was charged with and convicted of Chadwick’s murder. Jacques was scheduled for deportation prior to Chadwick’s murder, but a loophole in the deportation system allowed him to walk free.
New London attorney Chester Fairlie told the Tribune at the time of Jacques’ trial that problems in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement system needed to be addressed, and that he would forego his planned retirement to lobby for changes. Coulter seemingly cited the 2015 article to suggest problems with U.S. immigration are continuing under the Trump administration.
Many of Coulter’s followers quickly Tweeted back that she mixed up her dates.
Twitter user Patricia Vetterman was among 160-plus respondents, a majority of whom pointed out Coulter’s error. “The article is from 2015 so if my memory serves me right @realDonaldTrump was NOT President yet,” Vetterman tweeted. “It seems like you are always looking to blame him but you definitely missed with this one!”
Reached at his office Monday afternoon, a still-unretired Fairlie acknowledged he worked diligently in trying to help bring about reforms, even teaming up with Connecticut legislators in developing a proposed bill and making trips to the U.S. Capitol to lobby for change.
A central issue, which made the Chadwick murder a case in point, was that ICE had already adjudicated Jacques’ deportation after he served a 17-year sentence for shooting a victim in the back of the head. Jacques’ home nation of Haiti, however, refused to take him. After periods of detainment in Massachusetts and Louisiana, Jacques was eventually released. He was convicted last year of murdering Chadwick following an argument over drugs, and he is now serving a 60-year prison sentence at Cheshire Correctional Institution.
Fairlie said he’s seen no major effort by either the Trump or Obama administrations to fix the problems associated with Jacques and other similar cases.
“I know of no legislation that has come about to try to remedy this, whether in the ending years of Obama administration or in the beginning of the Trump administration,” he said. “I don’t know of any legislation that Trump or the Republicans have proposed that would improve that situation.”
During Fairlie’s work on the issue, Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy attempted to submit legislation, but it never gained traction. Congressman Joe Courtney was also involved in discussions. Fairlie estimated there were about 130 different cases he was aware of at the time in which people who should have been deported committed murder in the United States.
One of the main components of proposed changes would have been to require ICE and the U.S. State Department to work more closely regarding the allowance of visas to nations that refuse repatriation of their citizens, along with restricting grant money to uncooperative countries. Fairlie called the hesitance of parties to sign on to the deal a “political problem at the national level of our country.”
From a political angle, Coulter’s Tweet appeared to be directed at the Trump administration, but she has shown no shortage of disdain for the prior administration of President Barack Obama. She had not revised her post as of late Monday afternoon.