Spencer Golvach pulled up to a red light early on a Saturday morning in Harris County, Texas, just minutes after dropping off his girlfriend for the night.
She blew him a kiss as he drove off – little did she know that would be the last time she would see her 25-year-old boyfriend, who played bass for Houston’s popular Indie rock-band, the Dead Revolt, and loved to share his passion for making music with others at the guitar shop he owned in Cypress, Texas.
An illegal Mexican immigrant with a violent past pulled up next to Golvach’s truck at the stoplight, aimed his gun through the passenger window and pulled the trigger. Golvach slumped over, dead.
“She blew him a kiss from the car window and I can’t help but think that the same window she blew the kiss through, the passenger side, a few minutes later, a bullet went right through there and shot him in the head,” his mother Julie Golvach told ABC-13, fighting back tears on the day after the senseless drive-by shooting on Jan. 31, 2015.
“Somebody felt like it was a good idea to pull up next to him and end his life,” added Spencer’s father, Dan Golvach. “Blow his brains out.”
That “somebody” was Victor Rodriquez Reyes, an illegal alien who police believe was connected to Mexican drug cartels. And Reyes’ killing spree didn’t end with Spencer Golvach. He also killed a young Hispanic man, Juan Garcia, that same night and shot at another couple before he was himself shot and killed by a Harris County deputy.
Reyes had been convicted twice before of violent crimes against Americans – he once broke a beer bottle over a man’s head in 2003 and was charged with aggravated assault – and had been deported four times.
But when he came back the fifth time, he found safe harbor in Houston, one of more than 300 sanctuary cities in the U.S. where police often don’t ask about the immigration status of criminal suspects and rarely enforce federal immigration laws.
Dan Golvach, left to pick up the pieces of the tragic death of his son, has channeled his energy into working for a political solution to the sanctuary city movement.
In Texas, he believes the solution begins with the replacement of Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who he hopes will be defeated in this year’s March 1 primary election.
Straus, a Republican, is responsible for killing a bill introduced after Spencer Golvach’s death that would have banned sanctuary cities in Texas. The bill had cleared the state Senate but ran into a roadblock in Straus. The powerful speaker now faces opposition in the primary from two challengers who say they will work to pass legislation against sanctuary cities.
Golvach believes his son’s death was preventable. He says he’s tired of politicians who talk tough about illegal immigration, then do nothing to prevent it.
He voices his frustration in a new 30-second ad launched by the Young Conservatives of Texas PAC .
Watch the 30-second ad in which Dan Golvach explains how a sanctuary city allowed an illegal alien to kill his son:
“My son, Spencer, was murdered by an illegal alien hiding in a sanctuary city. His name was Victor Reyes, and he was associated with cartels,” he says in the ad. “I have just one question for Joe Straus: Isn’t the government supposed to protect innocent people? When Joe Straus killed the bill to ban sanctuary cities, he put the life of an illegal alien above that of my murdered son – and many other Texans just like him. Joe Straus has got to go, because he failed to protect the citizens of Texas.”
Straus, an establishment Republican who has endorsed Jeb Bush for president, faces opposition from San Antonio tea-party director Jeff Judson and former school teacher Sheila Bean. Conservatives hope to throw the race into a runoff election later in a presidential-election year, not a good time for an establishment candidate when the base of the party is charged up and ready to get out the vote.
An overwhelming majority of all Texans – 60 percent – oppose sanctuary cities, according to a November 2015 poll by the University of Texas/Texas Tribune. Only 23 percent approve. Among Republicans, the numbers are even more overwhelmingly against sanctuary cities.
Ninety-two percent of GOP voters nationwide want immigration frozen or slashed, according to Pew polling data, yet establishment GOP leaders refuse to take up the issue in Congress or in GOP-controlled state legislatures like that of Texas.
“It suggests that the Trump/Cruz line sells pretty well in Texas,” the UT/TT poll director, Daron Shaw, a government professor at University of Texas, told the Tribune. “It’s important to get it right because so many people think it’s a big important issue.”
Despite Straus’ failure to “get it right” in the statehouse, his more conservative challengers have had a difficult time unseating him from his power base as speaker. Straus has a war chest of more than $8 million to throw against his rivals.
In 2012 and 2014, San Antonio businessman and tea-party candidate Matt Beebe launched failed consecutive primary challenges against Straus, who won 62 percent of the vote in each election.
Straus has even more decisively whipped conservatives who challenged him for House speaker, a position he’s held for more than six years.
Watch Spencer Golvach’s mom talk about her son and his senseless killing:
Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist, told the San Antonio Express-News that Straus’ opponents know he’s nearly untouchable in a speaker’s race. But Jones said the “back door to remove the speaker” is through the GOP primary for his House seat.
So a lot is riding on March 1 primary votes in Texas, beyond just that of which presidential candidate gets to walk away with the state’s huge number of convention delegates.
“The danger for Straus is not that he doesn’t finish first; it’s that he doesn’t cross the 50 percent threshold,” Jones told the Express-News. “The existence of a strong credible challenger in Judson as well as a third candidate raises at least a remote possibility of being forced into a runoff.”
The battle over sanctuary cities in Texas goes back to former Gov. Rick Perry.
In 2011, Perry placed outlawing sanctuary cities in Texas on his priority calendar. The bill he sponsored would have denied state funds to local governments that blocked police from inquiring about the immigration status of persons detained or arrested.
The legislation failed to pass the Legislature that year after faith-based and immigrant-rights communities argued it would lead to “racial profiling,” the Texas Tribune reported. Foes in the business community, led by the Chamber of Commerce, also opposed the legislation and said it would hurt Texas’ reputation, possibly triggering boycotts similar to what Arizona faced when it passed its tough immigration bill.
A similar measure failed in 2015, after the highly publicized death of Spencer Golvach.
“A big majority of voters in the Texas GOP are very much against sanctuary cities. In fact, two years ago, activists fought and stopped the state GOP from putting (support for) sanctuary cities in the state GOP platform,” said William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. “Unfortunately, when you get to the top, to the pinnacle of power in the GOP, they don’t care how many people die at the hands of their illegal aliens. It’s about cheap labor, it’s about globalism, many different motivations, but they’re all accessories to mass murder. There’s blood on their hands. They protect illegals that kill Americans.”
Gheen said when he first heard about the murder of Spencer Golvach, it struck him as very similar to the case of Danielle Bologna, whose husband and two sons were gunned down on June 22, 2008, by an illegal alien from El Salvador at an intersection in San Francisco. The family had just returned from a picnic.
The case of Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed by an illegal alien on San Francisco’s peer last July, brought the issue of sanctuary cities even more into the public spotlight.
But there’s still been no action from Straus on sanctuary cities. WND reached out to his office Tuesday seeking comment. He did not return the call.
Churches supporting sanctuary cities
But it’s not only the politicians on both sides of the aisle who support sanctuary cities. It’s the churches.
Obama ordered less than 300 deportation raids on Central American illegals to begin in January, and the pro-immigrant groups immediately referred to this action as “mass roundups” of people fleeing “violent persecution” in their homelands. That mobilized churches to reignite the so-called “sanctuary movement,” exploiting federal regulations that make it nearly impossible to arrest anyone in the country illegally if they are residing on church property.
Church World Services is one of nine private agencies that gets federal grants to resettle foreign refugees in the U.S. The group, an arm of the World Council of Churches, is made up of primarily of Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist congregations, and it has created a network of safe houses across the U.S. for illegal Central American immigrants facing possible deportation.
El Pais, the Spanish daily newspaper of record, reported that St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, is one of the “safe havens” in the growing network of churches that harbor illegals.
A 28-year-old Guatemalan named Hilda Ramirez was one of the illegals who was hiding out in St. Andrews when El Pais reported on the situation recently. The church provided her with her own furnished room, social workers and help with legal aid.
“Everything she needs, from English classes to getting her hair done, is provided by the church,” El Pais reported.
“This is the first time we have offered sanctuary,” Rev. Crystal Silva, a pastor at St. Andrew’s, told the Spanish newspaper.
“The reason we are doing this is for justice. Our country wants to deport and that is not fair. There are millions of undocumented people who live in fear of deportation and suffer from poverty and violence. All our church wants is justice,” she said, adding that the congregation is prepared for a long legal battle.
But Dan Golvach wants to know who will provide justice for his son.
“This is a place of total despair,” he told Breitbart Texas. “There is no healing from this.”