[“Deport the Criminals First” is a recurring feature on this blog, highlighting crimes committed by illegal immigrants — with a special focus on repeat offenders. I argue that, instead of arresting illegal immigrants who work hard for a living, we should use our limited immigration enforcement resources to target illegal immigrants who commit crimes in this country — especially violent crimes.]
Today I want to talk about a critical component of immigration enforcement: prosecuting illegal re-entry cases.
Under federal law, it is a felony to re-enter the country after deportation or removal. The previous removal need not have been a formal deportation, but can include an illegal alien’s voluntary agreement to leave. Penalties vary, largely depending on the reason for the removal.
A source who wishes to remain anonymous, but whose word I trust, tells me an eye-opening story. My source once had a conversation with an ICE deportation officer in the Southern California area, who said that he personally arrests (on average) two people a week who could be prosecuted for illegal re-entry — but that he almost never submits the cases for prosecution. Instead, he just deports them. The deportation officer explained to my source that, as far as ICE is concerned, there is no requirement that every potential case of illegal re-entry be submitted for prosecution. Whether to submit such cases is considered an internal matter within ICE.
What’s more, the deportation officer said, there is no incentive to prosecute illegal re-entry cases. Some other ICE agents are specifically tasked with putting together illegal re-entry cases, and they do their job. But as a deportation officer, this agent said, he doesn’t get any additional recognition or credit for submitting illegal re-entry cases for prosecution — and it’s a lot more paperwork than simply deporting an illegal alien. So, although he arrested something like a hundred people a year for this offense — and keep in mind that we’re talking about only one deportation officer here — he submitted almost none for prosecution.
What effect does this have on the safety of the people of the United States?
The latest example happened Monday:
(06/06/07 — RALEIGH) – Sources with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in Wake County tell Eyewitness News this afternoon that Michael Caldera De Latorre, 24, is an illegal alien. ICE officials also said De Latorre tried to enter the United States at least twice before, both times in April of 2004.
Immigration authorities say his fingerprints suggest his real name is Ricardo Contreras, who was arrested twice in 2004 for trying to illegally cross into the United States.
In both instances, De Latorre was apprehended by federal agents and returned to his home country of Mexico voluntarily.
In other words, he wasn’t prosecuted the second time for illegal re-entry. Meaning that, instead of serving a prison sentence, he was free to kill a man named George Smith:
De LaTorre, 24, faces a number of charges including DWI, felony death by motor vehicle, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities said he was behind the wheel of a Chevy Tahoe that crossed the I-40 median at Wade Avenue Monday morning, slamming into two cars.
George Smith, 54, of Cary died. Carolyn Hageman, 35, of Apex was driving the second car the SUV hit. She suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Highway Patrol told Eyewitness News the Tahoe De LaTorre was driving was stolen from the Charlotte area. The vehicle wasn’t reported stolen until Tuesday morning.
Here is a picture of George Smith, the latest victim of our government’s failure to responsibly handle the problem of illegal immigration: