Patterico's Pontifications

12/5/2006

Deport Criminal Illegals First

Filed under: Court Decisions,Crime,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 11:38 pm

Jonathan Adler reports that a recent Supreme Court decision limits the group of illegal alien criminals that must be deported under federal law, after convictions for certain crimes.

I have no opinion on the correctness of the decision as a matter of statutory interpretation.

But as a matter of policy, we should be deporting illegal alien criminals before we deport any other illegals. I discussed this idea here.

UPDATE: I haven’t read the decision, and commenter Kevin Murphy says it apparently relates to deportation of immigrants who are otherwise here legally. If that’s true, it’s a somewhat different issue. I suggest only that those here illegally should be deported if convicted of any crime, and that we concentrate on achieving that goal before we turn our attention to deporting working illegals.

36 Responses to “Deport Criminal Illegals First”

  1. i agree with that! in addition to deporting criminal aliens first, we should reexamine our immigration policies. the natural migration from mexico doesn’t bother me, it’s when 1200 somalis are imported to a place like lewiston, maine…how about we sandblast the emma lazarus quote off the statue of liberty? we have more than enough of your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the rest of you who haven’t gotten here yet can just stay the hell out!

    assistant devil's advocate (ce34e1)

  2. Um… does it say that these illegal alien criminals may not be deported? If not, I don’t see the issue; deport them.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  3. Pat,
    How do you figure that illegal alien criminals should be deported before regular illegal aliens?

    Yes I’m asking a rhetorical question since by definition they are all CRIMINALS already by virtue of being here … illegaly? o.O

    Lord Nazh (d282eb)

  4. Is being an illegal alien a crime? Seriously, I don’t know if that’s true or not. I thought it was more of a civil issue.

    Phil (88ab5b)

  5. Illegal entry is a federal misdemeanor.

    Patterico (de0616)

  6. The Times report today says the dispute involved automatic deportation of LEGAL immigrants for lesser crimes than the statute authorized, such as simple drug possession. I think this is a completely different matter than what you do with illegal immigrants, who can be automatically deported just for being here.

    The vote was 8-1, Thomas dissenting.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  7. how about we sandblast the emma lazarus quote off the statue of liberty? we have more than enough of your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the rest of you who haven’t gotten here yet can just stay the hell out!

    While I am quite sure that ada is being his normally sarcastic self with this comment it does raise a question. Since there is a finite amount of land,resources,jobs and markets in the US, doesn’t there come a time when we have to enact more rigid (and typical based on policies of other nations) standards on immigration?

    paul from fl (001f65)

  8. Insofar as limited jobs and markets are concerned, why is it that people whine about illegal immigrants “taking” our jobs instead of whining about the companies outsourcing huge numbers of those jobs in the first place?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  9. My opinion is that where the scarcity of good jobs are concerned, illegals are ridiculously scapegoated to the detriment of society as a whole. This is a macro view – e.g., professional roofers might not agree, and they’re right.

    Where illegals who commit criminal acts stateside are concerned, it certainly makes sense to deport them. They basically walk into the system by getting apprehended for a crime, and are then deported. It’s all quite efficient.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  10. Patterico:

    Illegal entry is a federal misdemeanor.

    What about overstaying one’s visa? I know, most illegals never had them in the first place, I’m just curious as to whether there is a way to become an illegal alien without committing a crime in the process.

    Leviticus:

    Insofar as limited jobs and markets are concerned, why is it that people whine about illegal immigrants “taking” our jobs instead of whining about the companies outsourcing huge numbers of those jobs in the first place?

    For one thing, they’re not the same jobs. Any jobs that get outsourced to another country will not, ipso facto, be “taken” by anyone who is here, legally or illegally. For another, if the choice really is between hiring illegals here vs. hiring legal non-immigrants in their own country, isn’t the latter option better for everyone involved?

    Xrlq (6e3d35)

  11. xrlq:

    if the choice really is between hiring illegals here vs. hiring legal non-immigrants in their own country, isn’t the latter option better for everyone involved?

    For the most part, those aren’t the same jobs either.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  12. I’ve read parts of the decision, and it seems to be even more narrow than Kevin Murphy held it to be: the holding is that a crime which is a felony under state law but a misdemeanor under the controlled substances act cannot reasonably be described as a felony under the controlled substance act (obvious) and is therefore not an “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (less obvious).

    That seems to me to be a plausible reading. Thomas would argue that “any felony punishable under the controlled substances act” should not be parsed as “any [felony punishable under the controlled substances act]” but rather “[any felony] [punishable under the controlled substance act])”, which seems to me to be unnatural. (That is, he is arguing that it is not necessary that the crime be classified as a felony under the controlled substances act, it is merely necessary that the crime be a felony in some jurisdiction *and* that it be punishable *as anything* under the controlled substances act. That strikes me as being a profoundly weird interpretation of the language).

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  13. Weird. I just posted a comment to this thread and it vanished.

    Anyhow … i’ve read most of the decision, and it’s even narrower than Kevin’s report would have it seem.

    There’s apparently a law which allows deportation of legal immigrants convicted of “aggravated felonies”. One class of “aggravated felonies” are drug trafficking crimes, which are defined as “any felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act.”

    The majority holds that a crime which is a misdemeanor under the CSA, but a felony under a state law, is *not* a felony punishable under the CSA and therefore not an aggravated felony.

    The dissent holds that such a crime is a felony punishable under the CSA, and therefore an aggravated felony.

    I think the majority has the better case here. The natural reading of the phrase “felony punishable under [x]” is “punishable as a felony under [x]“; Justice Thomas’ suggestion that something which is a felony anywhere and which is punishable as anything under the CSA is, in fact, a felony punishable under the CSA is … a bizarre use of language. It’s possible, I suppose, that this phrase is a term of art, and that Thomas’ understanding is in fact the way most professionals using the term of art would use it — but it’s certainly not the way this layman would understand the phrase, and were it the case, Thomas’ dissent would probably have gotten more support.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  14. test 4

    aphrael_test (e0cdc9)

  15. “if the choice really is between hiring illegals here vs. hiring legal non-immigrants in their own country, isn’t the latter option better for everyone involved?”

    Depends on who is “involved.” If you mean it’s better for the immigrants to stay in their home country, and work for pennies an hour for American corporations because there are no other jobs, then I’d say no — they’re better off coming to a place where wealth, economic activity, and competition make their labor more valuable.

    If you mean better for American small businesses, who can’t afford to travel to Mexico to hire a captive audience of poor people with absolutely no other jobs, then I’d say no — having immigrant workers adding competition and supply to the local labor pool is better than having to compete with big corporations who can afford to move manufacturing out of the country for the really cheap labor.

    If you mean for American laborers, who wish that the immigrants weren’t competing with them by flooding their hometown labor markets with cheap labor then I’d STILL say no — competing with these laborers directly in a competitive market for jobs is better than having the local industries move to Mexico and hire trapped mexican workers with no other options for even lower wages.

    The only entities I see this situation being better for, in the long run, are large, wealthy corporations who can afford to have a manufacturing plant on one side of an impenetrable border, and a sales facility on the other side. They can hire desperate people for pennies, and sell their products for big bucks, until they drain the wealth of the somewhat successful working class on the American side down to the level of the desperate working class on the manufacturing side.

    Phil (88ab5b)

  16. First, make them serve their time in prison. Then make them work at public works for menial wages to pay us back for the expense of jailing them. Then deport them.

    Paul A'Barge (9ee668)

  17. Lets see if I can post comments now; I couldn’t successfully do so earlier.

    I have read most of the case. The decision is much narrower than it seems, narrower even than Kevin Murphy’s description.

    Apparently there’s an existing law which allows the deportation of aliens convicted of aggravated felonies. The same law defines aggravated felonies to include drug-trafficking crimes, which are defined to include “any felony punishable under the controlled substances act”.

    The person appealing the deportation order complained that he was convicted of a crime which was a felony under state law, but a misdemeanor under the CSA, and that this could not possibly be a felony punishable under the controlled substances act.

    The majority believes that “any felony punishable under the controlled substances act” means “anything punishable as a felony under the controlled substances act”, which is (I think) a natural reading. The dissent believes that “any felony punishable under the controlled substances act” is “anything anyone thinks is a felony” which “is punishable as anything under the controlled substances act”.

    The latter reading is, I submit, a strained interpretation at best.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  18. Sheesh, Paul, that’s almost as cruel as the current student loan racket.

    Phil (88ab5b)

  19. What about overstaying one’s visa? I know, most illegals never had them in the first place, I’m just curious as to whether there is a way to become an illegal alien without committing a crime in the process.

    If you’re brought here involuntarily.

    actus (bb04e2)

  20. FL Paul: re land scarcity.
    I don’t think you realize how much land there is in America. I know, you can’t live in the desert or on a mountain top; but, you can place the entire population of the world in Texas and Oklahoma, and not exceed the density of Manhattan (not saying I would want to live in Manhattan, but those are the facts) and Manhattan is not the most dense major world city (Mayor Bloomberg is another subject).

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  21. Now that I seem to be able to post again, I should strike while the iron is hot, as the saying goes:

    I have read the decision, and it’s much narrower than even Kevin Murphy depicts it.

    Apparently the law says that legal aliens convicted of an “aggravated felony” can be deported. “Aggravated felony” is defined to include “drug trafficking offenses”; “drug trafficking offenses” is defined to include “any felony punishable under the controlled substances act”.

    A guy was convicted of a crime that was a felony under state law but is treated as a misdemeanor by the CSA. The government tried to deport him. He said hey, wait a minute, this isn’t a felony under the CSA.

    The court ruled, basically, that “any felony punishable under the controlled substances act” means “any crime punishable as a felony under the controlled substances act”, which is the natural reading IMO. Thomas, in dissent, held that it’s “anything which is classified as a felony and which is punishable as anything under the CSA”, which strikes me as a bizarre and somewhat strained interpretation.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  22. Bring home the GIs and have them guard the border against illegal aliens and let the rest of the world defend itself they can after all

    krazy kagu (522a1c)

  23. Is there a chronic shortage of jobs in the USA for legal residents? Large number of jobseekers endlessly searching for work, only to be rebuffed at every turn? It seems unlikely, as the unemployment rate has been at historical lows for several decades — even after welfare reform caused a swarm of permanently unemployed into the market.

    If anyone had been paying attention during the Long Boom (1983-1999), one would have noticed endless handwringing over the labor shortages that loomed over the horizon, but never appeared. Two things prevented these shortages: outsourcing and massive immigration. In particular, jobs that did not require education were sent overseas or were taken by immigrants.

    Now, if the issue is that US citizens who somehow have evaded compulsory education are unable to get high-paying jobs, or are otherwise unable to compete with an illiterate, non-English-speaking able-bodied Mexican, well maybe. But with unemployment sitting under what used to be called “full meployment”, and half of what Europe has accepted for decades, I really don’t see it.

    Seems more like one would want to export more low-end work, or import more untrained workers to handle the scut work of an ever-growing economy. After all, in the long run everyone benefits from global prosperity.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  24. OK, that’s truly bizarre.

    *every one* of the comments I posted between 12.15 and 7pm did not show in any browser I used to look at the site between 12.15 and, well, now.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  25. I went into the spam filter after I saw your complaints and approved them all.

    I’m trying to teach the spam filter that you are an approved commenter.

    Patterico (de0616)

  26. Ahhh, ok. Thank you. :)

    [Is there an email address somewhere for mailing such complaints to? I couldn't find one, but that could easily be me being clueless. :)]

    [Scan the right margin. You should see it. -- P]

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  27. aphrael:

    what I recall from a moot court exercise in law school (which is to say, vaguely) is that two statutes, AEDPA and IIRIRA, combine to makes “aggravated felonies” deportable. The problem is that, as I recall, there is no such list, or even a specific guideline of what is or is not an “aggravated felony”. Shocking, no?

    I would bet that the definition of an aggravated felony has been honed by, if nothing else, case law. I was in law school on and in the years following 9/11, so some of the laws I was looking at had been hastily drafted/amended.

    biwah (2dcf66)

  28. “Any jobs that get outsourced to another country will not, ipso facto, be “taken” by anyone who is here, legally or illegally.”

    -Xrlq

    That’s true, but outsourcing jobs severely limits the opportunities of many citizens to find work. Even if the jobs aren’t “the same jobs”, per se, their outsourcing represents one less opportunity for an American to find a job that isn’t already staffed by an illegal immigrant working for dirt.

    “For another, if the choice really is between hiring illegals here vs. hiring legal non-immigrants in their own country, isn’t the latter option better for everyone involved?”

    -Xrlq

    This is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situation, Xrlq. Companies can (and are) outsourcing jobs at a tremendous pace; at the same time, they are hiring cheap labor (in the form of illegal immigrants) to fill whatever jobs they leave behind (i.e. service jobs).

    Companies win, Citizens lose.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  29. “…you can place the entire population of the world in Texas and Oklahoma…”

    -Another Drew

    Is that true?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  30. Companies can (and are) outsourcing jobs at a tremendous pace; at the same time, they are hiring cheap labor (in the form of illegal immigrants) to fill whatever jobs they leave behind (i.e. service jobs).

    The only way to fight that is to avoid Wal-Mart, shop union such as Costco and buy from mom & pop stores. Obviously it’s impossible to be strident about this; department stores and grocery stores are like global marketplaces.

    Vermont Neighbor (cd4d85)

  31. Biwah: you may be correct; all I know is what the opinion says. :)

    aphrael (12fba5)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2344 secs.