Skip to comments.Illegal entry not punished
Posted on 07/05/2010 12:20:05 PM PDT by AuntB
Its illegal to enter the United States without permission. At least technically.
Improper entry by an immigrant is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison. A second offense is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison.
But in practice, its treated much less seriously.
We basically do not prosecute that offense, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys Office in Los Angeles. Essentially, if youre an illegal alien and you come across the border and we find you, we almost never do anything.
Indeed, in 2008, the most recent year for which information is available, the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Central District of California - which includes San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties - didnt prosecute a single person for simple illegal entry.
The lack of prosecutions is just a sign that, as lawmakers have said, U.S. immigration policy is broken and doesnt satisfy those on either side of the debate.
Illegal immigrants who are found and detained by federal officials are often deported but rarely charged with the crime of entering the country illegally. That usually only happens, Mrozek said, when an illegal immigrant has been convicted of a felony and has returned to the U.S. after being deported.
It always comes after that person has been convicted of some other offense - drug trafficking, burglary, Mrozek said. What weve decided to do is focus on the worst of the worst.
In 2008, the Central District filed charges in 699 felony illegal immigration cases.
The U.S. Attorneys Office, part of the Department of Justice, isnt the only federal agency that deals with illegal immigration. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, can detain and deport immigrants, but it does not charge illegal immigrants with a crime.
In many cases, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Canada are allowed to go home without being formally deported.
In a speech Thursday, President Barack Obama acknowledged that illegal entry, even if it isnt treated as a crime per se, is a violation of U.S. law.
Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship, Obama said. And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million (illegal immigrants in the U.S.) who broke these laws should be held accountable.
The nations patchwork of immigration enforcement techniques doesnt seem to please the president or anyone else.
Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, who has been a vocal advocate of allowing illegal immigrants in the U.S. an opportunity to become citizens, says illegal immigrants should not be seen as criminals.
The hard-working men and women who are here to make a better way of life for their families are not criminals, Baca said. They are an embodiment of the American dream.
Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Service Center, which provides legal aid to immigrants, said he has concerns about how ICE enforces immigration laws, specifically that the agency will deport people without taking into account the families they are leaving behind.
I think enforcement should recognize that people come from mixed families, he said, meaning families in which some members are illegal immigrants while some are citizens or legal residents. Before expelling people from the country, I think family unification, morally, should play a role.
But Raymond Herrera - president of anti-illegal-immigration group We the People, Californias Crusader - said its not acceptable for illegal immigrants to carry on without being punished.
Federal officials, Herrera said, took the law and said were only going to go after criminals - but theyre all criminals.
He said those who want to allow illegal immigrants to become citizens and ignore the crime of illegal entry might think illegal immigration is a victimless crime.
The federal government says theres no victim, but that illegal alien displaced an American worker, Herrera said. Im a victim, but nobody is looking to prosecute the criminal.
He said federal officials should find illegal immigrants, charge them and deport them.
But Rep. Gary Miller, R-Brea, said the federal government isnt even doing enough to remove illegal immigrants who have committed other crimes.
We cant even prosecute some of the most egregious, Miller said. Lets prosecute the people who are coming here and committing crimes.
Mrozek said prosecuting every illegal immigrant in the country - estimates range from 11 million to 30 million - or even the Central District of California would require a lot more resources than his office has.
If we wanted to, every single prosecutor in our office could do nothing but immigration crimes, he said. Theres enough business, so to speak, to keep those people more than occupied.
But he said the U.S. Attorneys Office has other priorities: international smuggling, organized crime, tax evasion.
If we had thousands of prosecutors and the (federal) Bureau of Prisons had infinite beds and we had who knows how many courtrooms, yeah, all these cases could theoretically be dealt with, Mrozek said. We have what we have, and we do the best we can to deal with the criminal problems that exist in our district.
Herrera, though, said a lack of manpower or resources isnt a good argument for letting thousands of criminals off the hook.
When they tell you they cant afford to enforce the law, theyre saying we have a state of anarchy, he said.
Web definitions for anarchy:
a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government)
Indeed, in 2008, the most recent year for which information is available, the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Central District of California - which includes San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties - didnt prosecute a single person for simple illegal entry. "
Two words: Labor Camps.
What would happen if I hopped the wall of the Kennedy Compound and declared myself an undocumented adoptee?
When they tell you they cant afford to enforce the law, theyre saying we have a state of anarchy,
“What would happen if I hopped the wall of the Kennedy Compound and declared myself an undocumented adoptee?”
You’d find out they DO own guns!
The inmates run that asylum.
Before or after they tased you?
The dogs would get him first.
“If we had thousands of prosecutors and the (federal) Bureau of Prisons had infinite beds and we had who knows how many courtrooms, yeah, all these cases could theoretically be dealt with,”
Let’s see...economy is in the dumper. Jobs are tough to find. Maybe a program to build courtrooms and prisons?
Nah...that would make some sense...
And the first persons assigned to the labor camps should be from the White House, Justice Department, and county prosecutors, in that order.
“Lets see...economy is in the dumper. Jobs are tough to find. Maybe a program to build courtrooms and prisons?
Nah...that would make some sense...”
Enforce the law, secure the border and all this nonsense goes away.
As for more prisons...THAT is one of the problems. Most detention centers are run by private prison systems..and they give BIG $$$ to ALL the open border politicos..McCain comes to mind.
There is BIG money in illegal immigration...
Follow the $$$
Also, keep in mind....
more than HALF of all Federal prosecutions are of illegal aliens. In 2009, the U.S. Justice Department filed nearly 92,000 immigration-related criminal cases in the federal courts. The record-breaking trend accounted for more than half of all new federal prosecutions in the country, according to Justice Department data maintained at Syracuse University..”
"It is really all very simple. If you are illegal, your children are not citizens just because they are born in this country. You cannot work, you cannot go to school, obtain routine medical services or use social services. It requires nothing more than to shut off those perks and the problem will solve itself.Very well said and I have been saying this for a long, long time. Shut the tap and they will leave, on their own.
Not only will the above solve the illegal immigration problem, it will go a long way toward rectifying the solvency problem for states and hospitals inundated with illegal immigrants."
Here in Maricopa County (AZ), we’ve been routinely charging illegals with human smuggling (IE, smuggling themselves). AZ is becoming very illegal unfriendly.
I always tell folks, It’s not the jobs as much as it’s the crime.