Note To Congress: Most Illegal Aliens Are Already Criminals—But They`re Not Being Deported Anyway [NEW IMPROVED VERSION!]
As Mexican nationalist demonstrators take to the streets
Amnesty mass immigration America– egging the U.S.
Senate on to march over the cliff of yet another illegal
Tom Tancredo took to the pages of America`s favorite
in arguing the case for immigration law enforcement.
"The first myth is
that the House bill would make criminals out of
priests who run
homeless shelters and soup kitchens."
"A second myth is
that House Republicans want to make illegal presence
in the USA a felony."
Thanks in large part to the efforts of Tancredo and his
House Immigration Reform Caucus, H.R. 4437, the
"Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal
Immigration Control Act of 2005" [PDF]
was approved by the House of Representatives on December
Prosecution, or the lack thereof, for immigration
violations is the responsibility of the various Offices
United States Attorneys throughout the country. They
are tasked with enforcing violations of the U.S. Code in
the Federal District Courts. But has anyone noticed the
federal government prosecuting Americans who give
illegal aliens an assortment of goodies such as
mortgages or identification documents? I think not.
So what makes anyone think that the U.S. Attorneys
across the country will somehow overnight begin
prosecuting folks who give illegal aliens soup or
sandwiches — let alone prosecuting
priests in the
Roman Catholic Church? Soup kitchens have never and
will not now constitute “harboring” illegal
As for the second myth, illegal aliens by definition
have committed an
immigration violation (under the Immigration and
Nationality Act). But they might not necessarily have
committed a criminal violation. Illegally
entering the United States is a "crime" now
(although not the gravest type of crime i.e. a felony,
which would carry a higher penalty than the current six
months` jail.) But the mere fact of an alien`s unlawful
presence is not now a federal crime, although it is a
removable offense under the Immigration Act.
Summary: Entrants who have
overstayed the term of valid legal visas constitute
unlawful presence violators.
Fence-jumpers, Rio Grande River swimmers and other
assorted illegal crossers of the border constitute
illegal entry violators.
The House bill does add "unlawful presence" to
the criminal offenses listed along with "illegal
entry" already in the statute. The bill also bumps
up the penalties for both "illegal entry" and
"unlawful presence" to "one year and one day"
of prison time, enough to make both offenses into
federal felonies because of the increased length of
Of course, if you really want to get technical here,
aliens in the United States—maybe
20 million strong of them—are already not only
subject to removal for violating the Immigration Act,
but are in fact criminals!
Not only can they already be deported under Immigration
and Nationality Act provisions for breaking the law, but
a great many of them could also be prosecuted for
illegally entering the country under 18 U.S.
Code Section 1325.
Tancredo also wrote in USA Today that "[r]ight
now, illegal presence in the USA is not a crime; it is a
Ahem! The Congressman misstates slightly. Illegal
presence is not a crime (see above). But it`s not a
"civil" infraction either. It`s an immigration
violation—and already a deportable offense.
Here`s a quick thumbnail sketch of all the legal
- Criminal charges
are brought by the states or the federal government
against individuals for violation of state or
federal criminal codes. Criminal charges can subject
jail or prison time, depriving them of
Civil lawsuits are brought by individuals
against other persons for money damages or
injunctive relief (namely, getting someone to do
something, or stop doing something else), but
without the issue of jail or prison time (which can
only be administered by the government). Howard
RICO class actions against the employers of
illegal labor are civil law suits.
- Aliens who violate
the immigration laws of the United States as found
in the Immigration and Nationality Act are
subject to removal from the country. Deporting
aliens can be accomplished either through
summary removal (hurrah!) or after running the
endless litigation before the Department of
Justice`s dreaded Executive Office for Immigration
Immigration Court system (boo, hiss!). But the only
thing that aliens have to fear in this area is
deportation, not money damages, and not jail time.
- Aliens who also
happen to violate certain immigration-related
provisions of the federal criminal code can also be
subject to prosecution for their crimes by the U.S.
attorneys in Federal District Court. Popular
immigration-related crimes are found in Title 8 of
the U.S. Code (section
1325: illegally entering the U.S.; section 1326:
As fans of immigration law enforcement though, just ask
yourself: if all of the illegal aliens running loose
across America are not being deported in any significant
numbers now, (nor have they been since
probably the 1950s), why should we think these same
illegal aliens will now suddenly be prosecuted by
politically-correct U.S. Attorneys for illegal entry?
Of course, illegal aliens should be prosecuted.
The fact of the matter is that most illegal aliens are
law-breaking criminals already, and they`re also
liars, cheaters, and thieves (i.e.—stealing a life
in the U.S. that does not belong to them), just for good
When I say "deport
illegal aliens and
criminal alien residents," the "criminal"
part refers to
LPRs (lawful permanent resident aliens) who have
committed crimes that render them deportable under the
And by definition, they`ve also committed a crime (in
this case a federal or state criminal offense) in
addition to the immigration violation.
Tancredo in his USA Today article points out
that, ironically, Republicans have attempted to soften
the law—but the Democrats stopped them:
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., wrote an amendment to his own
bill asking that the penalty be reduced from a felony to
a misdemeanor; 191 Democrats and a few Republicans
voted to keep the felony penalty in the hope that it
would be a poison pill to defeat the measure. After his
amendment lost, Sensenbrenner promised, `When this bill
gets to (House-Senate) conference, those penalties will
be made workable. You can count on that.` "
The incredible truth
that House Democrats actually voted to keep the dreaded
"felony" penalty was also previously pointed out
in an e-mail from a
legislative analyst published March 25 by
Legal Eagles can check
FAQ section and also the definitions section of
Immigration Act Section 101(a) for more hair-splitting
But in my humble opinion, this "making it a crime"
business is just one gigantic red herring for the
As long as the federal government is not particularly
interested in enforcing immigration laws anymore, all of
these legal distinctions don`t really hold my interest.
Forget the USA Today opinion page . . . now
S.W.A.T. Magazine, that`s one heck of a page-turner!