[Posted by WLS]
Rudy Guiliani went on Glenn Beck today and made a minor blunder when he stated unequivocally that being an undocumented person in the US is not a crime under federal law. Here is what he said:
GLENN: Right. But isn’t illegal immigration a crime in and of itself?
GLENN: Aren’t you saying —
GIULIANI: Glenn —
GLENN: You’re protecting criminals by saying that being treated as a criminal is unfair.
GIULIANI: Glenn, it’s not a crime. I know that’s very hard for people to understand, but it’s not a federal crime.
GLENN: It’s a misdemeanor but if you’ve been nailed, it is a crime. If you’ve been nailed, ship back and come back, it is a crime.
GIULIANI: Glenn, being an illegal immigrant, the 400,000 were not prosecuted for crimes by the federal government, nor could they be. I was U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York. So believe me, I know this. In fact, when you throw an immigrant out of the country, it’s not a criminal proceeding. It’s a civil proceeding.
While he’s correct that the overwhelming majority – probably upwards of 95% — of illegal alien cases are handled as civil deportation matters where the only issue is whether the person stays or gets deported, the fact is that illegally entering the US at a place or manner other than as designated by immigration officials is a federal petty misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in prison.
8 U.S.C. Section 1325:
“Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of such an offense, be fined under Title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months….
Rudy’s my guy right now, but if he’s going to play the “I was US Attorney” card on law enforcement issues, its up to him to get the law right.