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Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Few illegal border crossers prosecuted

April 7, 2007

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— For all the tough talk out of Washington on immigration, illegal immigrants caught along the Mexican border have almost no reason to fear they will be prosecuted.

Ninety-eight percent of those arrested between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2005, were never prosecuted for illegally entering the country, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data. Nearly 5.3 million immigrants were simply escorted back across the Rio Grande and turned loose.

The number of immigrants prosecuted annually tripled during that five-year period, to 30,848 in fiscal year 2005, the most recent figures available. But that still represented less than 3 percent of the 1.17 million people arrested that year. The prosecution rate was just less than 1 percent in 2001.

The likelihood of an illegal immigrant being prosecuted is "to me, practically zero," said Kathleen Walker, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Federal prosecutors along the nation's southern border have come under pressure from politicians and from top officials in the Justice Department to pursue more cases against illegal immigrants.

But few politicians are suggesting the government prosecute everyone caught slipping across the border. With about 1 million immigrants stopped each year, that would overwhelm the nation's prisons, break the Justice Department's budget and paralyze the courts, immigration experts say.

The Justice Department says it has higher priorities and too few resources to go after every illegal immigrant. The department says it pursues more selective strategies, such as going after immigrant smugglers and those with criminal records.

Under federal law, illegally entering the country is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to six months in prison for a first time. A second offense carries up to two years. If an immigrant has been prosecuted and deported and then sneaks back into the country, he can be charged with a felony punishable by up to two years behind bars. Those with criminal records can get 10 to 20 years.

The federal figures on arrests and prosecutions were collected and provided to the AP by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University in New York.

Justice Department spokes-man Dean Boyd said in a statement that 30 federal prosecutors have been added to the border to handle the rising number of immigration and border drug cases and noted that securing more prosecutions would require hiring more judges and public defenders and building more courtrooms and jails.

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 8 months ago

Studies also find that grass is purple, sky yellow.

Frank Smith 7 years, 8 months ago

TEXAS/MEXICO BORDER -- NIGHT

The DRIVER of a van, turns on the wipers, smearing bug remains all over.

Up ahead headlights are pointed at him, sealing off the road. He calls over his shoulder, to the back of the van.

DRIVER Deja me hablar. (Let me do the talking.)

The van slows to a stop in front of the parked cars, all with "INS" stenciled on the sides. INS AGENTS stand in front. Their leader steps forward to the window.

AGENT JANUS, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, also government issue, looks at him, sighs.

JANUS Well. Nick the Dick. What a surprise. Where you comin' from?

DRIVER Fishing in Cuernavaca.

JANUS Sure you were. What say we have a look at your catch?

The Agents fling open the rear doors, revealing FRIGHTENED MEXICANS. Janus looks at the Driver and shakes his head.

JANUS Me, I woulda thrown 'em back. Vamanos. Fuera. Hagan una lina! (Let's go. Out. Form a line!)

They pile out. Some are parents with small children.

JANUS What do you get, Nick? $100 a head? $200? I hope you saved it all for your lawyer, pal, 'cause you're gonna need --

Another car approaches fast. The car spins around the INS cars, SQUEALS to a halt. It's a black '86 Ford LTD.

TWO MEN get out, dressed in plain black suits, crisp white shirts, simple black ties, shiny black shoes.They approach the agents.

KAY We'll take it from here.

JANUS Who the hell are you?

KAY INS Division 6.

JANUS I never heard of Division 6.

KAY Really?

Kay and Dee move past him and approach the immigrants.

Kay walks down the row, studying the faces, greeting each one cheerily in Spanish.

KAY !Oye! Que pasa, coma estas? Hey!(What's up, how are you?) When he reaches the fifth Guy, he keeps the same cheery tone, but: Que dices si te rompo la cara? (What do you say if I break your face?)

The Guy smiles, nods. Kay stops. His smile broadens and he drops a hand on the Guy's shoulder.

KAY No hablas ni una palabra del Espanol, verdad, amigo? (You don't speak a word of Spanish, right, friend?)

The Guy smiles and nods. Kay looks at Dee.

KAY We got a winner. Los restos estan libres a irse. Largense! (The rest of you are free to go. Scram!)

JANUS Sir!

KAY Tomen el camion, y vayeuse. (Get on the road and go.)

AGENT JANUS Sir, you can't just --

The Driver grins, jumps back in. The others pile into the rear and they tear out of there.

KAY (to Janus) We're gonna have a little chat with our friend here. You boys can hit the road ...and keep on protecting us from dangerous aliens.

Kay and Dee escort their captive across the road and over a small rise.

He pulls out a small laser device, which he ZIPS down the front of the man's clothes.

The man's clothes fall to the ground, revealing what he really is -- A SCALY SPACE BASTARD, about 4 1/2 feet tall, with a snout, snail-like tentacles, independently moving eyes on stalks at the top of his head.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

"Nearly 5.3 million immigrants were simply escorted back across the Rio Grande and turned loose."

The prisons are already overflowing from the war on drugs. There's no place to put any of these people if you did charge and convict them.

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