2004 January 13 Tuesday
Heather Mac Donald On The Illegal Alien Crime Wave
Writing in the Winter 2004 issue of City Journal the always excellent Heather Mac Donald has written an absolutely must-read article entitled The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave.
Police commanders may not want to discuss, much less respond to, the
illegal-alien crisis, but its magnitude for law enforcement is startling.
- In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which
total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all
fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.
- A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995
that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California
is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The
bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in
California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and
drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A.
County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last two decades by
recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central
America and Mexico.
- The leadership of the Columbia Lil' Cycos gang, which uses murder and
racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.'s MacArthur Park, was
about 60 percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S. attorney Luis
Li. Francisco Martinez, a Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien,
controlled the gang from prison, while serving time for felonious reentry
Mac Donald has quotes from police captains and commanders speaking off-the-record about the problems that illegal aliens cause for law enforcement and says that these same officers are afraid to repeat those statements on-the-record. So members of the general public are left unaware of the conspiracy of silence that is keeping them ignorant of the scale of the law enforcement problems being caused by illegal aliens.
The police can not just arrest and deport an illegal who is a gang member or suspected of being involved in organized crime. Even illegals with previous convictions who have been deported whose return to the United States is therefore a felony (first illegal entry is a misdemeanor but all later illegal entries are felonies) can not just be picked up off the street by local police for deportation. Many local police forces are under orders to do absolutely no enforcement of immigration laws. Also, the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS, formerly the INS) doesn't have enough staff and funding for deportation even if the local officials were willing to turn them over. Enforcement of US federal court deportation orders has become a farce.
But even when immigration officials actually arrest someone, and even if a
judge issues a final deportation order (usually after years of litigation
and appeals), they rarely have the manpower to put the alien on a bus or
plane and take him across the border. Second alternative: detain him pending
removal. Again, inadequate space and staff. In the early 1990s, for example,
15 INS officers were in charge of the deportation of approximately 85,000
aliens (not all of them criminals) in New York City. The agency's actual
response to final orders of removal was what is known as a "run letter"-a
notice asking the deportable alien kindly to show up in a month or two to be
deported, when the agency might be able to process him. Results: in 2001, 87
percent of deportable aliens who received run letters disappeared, a number
that was even higher-94 percent-if they were from terror-sponsoring
Criminal aliens also interpret the triage as indifference. John Mullaly a
former NYPD homicide detective, estimates that 70 percent of the drug
dealers and other criminals in Manhattan's Washington Heights were illegal.
Were Mullaly to threaten an illegal-alien thug in custody that his next stop
would be El Salvador unless he cooperated, the criminal would just laugh,
knowing that the INS would never show up. The message could not be clearer:
this is a culture that can't enforce its most basic law of entry. If
policing's broken-windows theory is correct, the failure to enforce one set
of rules breeds overall contempt for the law.
The sheer number of criminal aliens overwhelmed an innovative program that
would allow immigration officials to complete deportation hearings while a
criminal was still in state or federal prison, so that upon his release he
could be immediately ejected without taking up precious INS detention space.
But the process, begun in 1988, immediately bogged down due to the
numbers-in 2000, for example, nearly 30 percent of federal prisoners were
Think about this. The US government does not provide enough money to deport illegal alien prisoners when their sentences are completed and yet it costs approximately $20,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate in US federal prisons. If the federal government has already kept an illegal alien locked up for years for murder, rape, assault, robbery, or a long list of other crimes and spent tens or hundreds of thousands protecting US citizens from a vicious criminal then surely it can afford to spend a small fraction of that amount of money to bus or fly released criminals out of the country. But do not expect George W. Bush to stand for protecting American citizens from illegal alien crimnals. Bush is too busy pursuing the Hispanic vote by any means necessary.
Federal immigration laws are so bad that even illegal aliens who are suspected to be terrorists plotting attacks are able to delay their deportation for years.
Another powerful political force, the immigration bar association, has won
from Congress an elaborate set of due-process rights for criminal aliens
that can keep them in the country indefinitely. Federal probation officers
in Brooklyn are supervising two illegals-a Jordanian and an Egyptian with
Saudi citizenship-who look "ready to blow up the Statue of Liberty,"
according to a probation official, but the officers can't get rid of them.
The Jordanian had been caught fencing stolen Social Security and tax-refund
checks; now he sells phone cards, which he uses himself to make untraceable
calls. The Saudi's offense: using a fraudulent Social Security number to get
employment-a puzzlingly unnecessary scam, since he receives large sums from
the Middle East, including from millionaire relatives. But intelligence
links him to terrorism, so presumably he worked in order not to draw
attention to himself. Currently, he changes his cell phone every month.
Ordinarily such a minor offense would not be prosecuted, but the government,
fearing that he had terrorist intentions, used whatever it had to put him in
Now, probation officers desperately want to see the duo out of the country,
but the two ex-cons have hired lawyers, who are relentlessly fighting their
deportation. "Due process allows you to stay for years without an
adjudication," says a probation officer in frustration. "A regular
immigration attorney can keep you in the country for three years, a
high-priced one for ten." In the meantime, Brooklyn probation officials are
watching the bridges.
The deportation process needs to be streamlined to make deportation a lot faster.
Those of my regular readers who do not share my hardline attitudes in support of radical immigration reform ought to take the time to read Heather's article in full. Even I am shocked by some of her revelations.
Those who think that it would be possible to put a stop to illegal immigration only by enforcing labor laws against the hiring of illegal aliens need to take note of the criminal illegals who do not work at legal jobs. Certainly labor law enforcement needs to improve by several orders of magnitude. But unless the police are ordered and encouraged to round up illegals and unless the BCIS and Border Patrol are staffed up and funded to conduct large scale deportations this problem is only going to get even worse than it already is.
Once you have read Heather's article linked above you may be interested to go check out a page of links to the collected articles written by Heather Mac Donald over the last few years on an assortment of policy topics including whether the police unfairly use racial profiling, homeland security, and other subjects.
Update: Heather's mention that 30% of federal prison inmates are foreign born allows the calculation of a yearly cost of incarcerating foreign born criminals. This US DOJ PDF file tells us that there are about 166,000 in prisons and the cost is about $20,000 (I'm rounding slightly). So 0.3 times 166,000 times $20,000 gives us a yearly cost of $996 million or almost $1 billion dollars per year (and it probably will be over a billion in 2004 since the number of illegals continues to grow). Throw in the cost for police to catch these people and the court costs of trying them and then throw in the costs at the state and local level for arrest, trial, incarceration, and probation and it is clear that illegal alien criminals are costing billions of dollars per year in criminal justice system costs alone (it would be a worthwhile exercise to try to calculate the total but I don't know where to get all the needed data). On top of that there are the many costs to the populace. What is the cost to a woman who is gang-raped? What is the cost to an innocent maimed or killed in a drive-by gang shooting? What is the cost for people afraid to leave their homes because their streets are controlled by gangs?
Update: Joe Katzman has also posted about Heather's article and there is more discussion on Joe's Winds of Change blog.
Its time for Bush and America to wake up before the country is lost.
Time to get rid Of that wimp Tom Ridge and put a warrior or law enforcement officer in there.
Let the military start a con-air operation and deport them to the southern border of Mexico like Reagan wanted to do.
Reagan's hardly the model. His 1986 amnesty was a BIG part of what has gotten us into this mess. Bush just doesn't understand - there are 9/11 levels of opposition to this ridiculous bill:
More Than Three-Quarters of Americans Want Stricter Immigration Controls.
(November 2003, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press)
77 percent of Americans say “we should restrict and control people coming into the country to live more than we do now,” including 82 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of both Democrats and Independents.
full poll: http://www.pewtrusts.com/pdf/pew_research_values_110503.pdf
Fortunately it seems like it's not going to pass: link
WASHINGTON -- President Bush’s proposal to give temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants is running into stiff resistance from both left and right on Capitol Hill and stands little chance of enactment this year, according to supporters and opponents.
I'm actually amazed Bush would push such a hugely unpopular policy when he seems to be cruising to re-election.Despite the polls,the party's conservstive base has been restive over his wild spending,this might well cause a revolt,the base staying home come Nov(or voting R for Congress and Senate,leaving the top spot on the ballot unpunched).
M., I'm not going to vote for Bush. I think we would be better off if the government was once again split with the Congress in the hands of the Republicans and the White House under Democratic Party control.
On many issues that matter most to me Bush is wrong or useless.
I fear is that whil this proposal by Bush will not pass in 2004 it may pass in 2005.
I was already aware (and outraged) that illegals were not being deported after serving time. I wasn’t aware that police were kept from deporting known illegal gang members. I hope the blogsphere will keep pushing these issues. It shouldn’t be hard to generate a strong public consensus for action. What politician wants to go on record as “protector of criminals”?
Whether the Bush proposal goes anywhere or not, I believe it is generating a much-needed discussion about the US immigration disaster. It may not lead to amnesty or a wall and deportation of all illegals but it should make it easier to improve the insane situation described in the article.
I also agree that the whole process of deportation must be drastically overhauled. The legal protection and due process accorded by our laws to illegals fails under sheer numbers.
Randall, have you considered the logistical nightmare of deporting millions of illegals under our present legal system? Would triage work? Start with the felons. Move on to the gangbangers. Combine this with enforcement against the largest employers. The loss of jobs combined with a real fear of deportation might slow the influx and convince some to leave. Thus the US wouldn’t have to use the police and legal system to expel millions.
Fly, I quite agree that the current legal system makes it very hard to deport people even if they are rounded up. That needs to be fixed.
However, there are hundreds of thousands who have been ordered to leave who could be deported without any legal barriers in the way. What is required is the funding to pay for agents and transportation to basically show these people to the border. So a big increase in deportations could be done by deporting every person as soon as their deportation order is issued. Also, all illegals in jails could be sent out of the country when their jail sentence is up.
Also, once a person is deported if they return they commit a felony. So if some US attorney started filing felony charges and doing trials against some particularly bad returnees (any of the criminals would be great targets) that would send out a loud message to all illegals that the legal environment has gotten a lot tougher. At the very a lot of the deportees would stay out.
The problem can not be fixed all at once. But many different steps could be taken if only we had a President of the United States who wanted to take those steps. As it stands now we do not. Bush wants the opposite.
Well, I know this President isn't supposed to be subtle or clever, but I am surprised that noone mentions Vincente Fox. Fox, of course, wants the pressure relief valve of emigration and money transfers home to Mexico. So Bush announces his plan, Fox pretends to be happy, Bush has already told him that political realities may make enactment impossible. Why do I suspect that there won't be a whole lot of political capital expended seeking passage? Why, we may even see a backlash!
They should offer employees who report on employers who use illegal aliens money to do so. $500/person. Make it anonymous and forbid the employer to fire the employee who reports on the illegals.
They need to build the wall, deport gangbangers and felons, create some sort of legal status for "law-abiding" illegals who have jobs. If you don't have a job, get out. Tell them you'll create a Mexico work program soon and then stall. Tell Mexico in no uncertain terms that they need internal reform. Work to retain skilled intl students who study here. Start filtering the immigration rolls for better educated people.
I have to say that a gang of 20,000+ people is not a gang. It's an army.
Why depend on the federal government to build the fence? Cities seem to be building fences and patrolling their local borders. (Pushing the problem to the rural areas.) Why not build on the local effort? Once the corridors near populated areas are controlled, use remote surveillance to track the illegals to their coyote contacts. Then use the INS to arrest the coyotes and deport the illegals. Use the blogosphere to keep a spotlight on the process so that any politician who obstructs gets bad publicity. Collect donations and aid the ranchers trying to protect their property from invasion.
Combine this “virtual wall” with an online campaign to reduce illegal employment. Identify and publish the names of the major employers.
Hmmm…seems there must already be an online site organizing such an effort. Maybe this is already happening?
PS I’m not in favor of a federal wall combined with massive arrest and deportation. I would favor the above approach combined with the selective deportation of all illegal felons and illegal gang members. Penalizing employers and reducing social services to illegals might encourage many more to leave. The remainder needs to be brought into legal compliance through some form of legal guest worker program (otherwise we will never get them identified and monitored).
Fly, I've argued in many occasions that since Arizona and California have state constitutional mechanims for ballot initiatives that it might be possible to get states to fund the fence, at least along the Arizona and California borders with Mexico.
As for how to get the illegals currently here identified: It is possible to do so. We could start by staffing the BCIS to run down all illegal uses of Social Security numbers. That alone would turn up hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of illegals.
Effective January 1, 2004, The Pew Charitable Trusts transformed from a foundation into a newly independent non-profit organization. The Trusts will now have a greater ability to fulfill its core mission--informing the public with credible, fact-based research on key issues of the day, advancing policy solutions when the case for change is compelling, and supporting America's civic life and communities.
This change in status allowed us to move from a .com site to a .org site. Would you kindly update any links on your Web site to reflect our new address--www.pewtrusts.org?
Thank you for your assistance.
Public Affairs Temp
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Everyone beats up on Mexico and the Mexican government for the number of illegals in the US. Yet, the dollar always goes up and the peso always goes down. As long as this continues to happen there will be more immigrants to the US. Why does this happen?
Think about it.
HOW TO SOLVE THE ILLEGAL ALIEN PROBLEM.
It is simple. We don't need more laws.
Make every legal American a deputy and place a bounty on illegals.
If an American catches an illegal alien pay them anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of what it costs the Border Patrol to apprehend an illegal.
The closer to the border you catch the illegal alien the more money you make. Catching an illegal within 10 miles of the border should net a bonus! This would benefit the property owners near the border who have had their property destroyed by illegals.
Of course, police would be eligible too! So a routine traffic stop just might earn them some extra spending money.
I would wager the problem with illegal crossings just about ceases the minute the policy is put into place.
A fence is too wishy washy. The Chinese got it right. And we could use the illegals as slave labor (call it "community service" instead) to build the Great Wall of USA.
I like the idea of bounty hunters. "Well he looked like an illegal alien."
I also think we ought to resurrect Judge Roy Bean, no nonsense lawnorder. Whatever happened to the vigilante movement? And lynchings, yeah, that steps it up a notch or two, but why stop when yr on a roll?
(Take that back, my evil twin)
Well, recently the military had a surplus of older model M-60's that they were going to replace. We take the old models, refurbish them and outfit them with motion detectors.
ANYTHING crossing the border gets zapped with high speed lead therapy !
I want to do more--but what? I want our borders strengthened, more border patrol, more INS, more authorization for local law to seize these illegal aliens here and money to deport them (without strong borders, of course, they come right back)I want our immigration laws strictly enforced. I want no amnesties until all above has been done. All I can do is write, phone, fax, email my representatives and vote plus show up at meetings and go to what few protest rallys there are in area I can get to. I do lots and lots of letters, phoning, faxes and emails! I give what I can afford to organizations against illegal aliens. I try and get other people to do all this, too, and usually do get some for every proposed bill. What do other typical citizens do?
I HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF THESE CRIME INFESTED, NO VALUE OF LIFE, CRUSIFIX WEARING, DOWN RIGHT STUPID VERMIN, TWICE!! ONCE, WHILE AT WORK THEY BROKE INTO MY HOME IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, WERE SEEN BY MULTIPLE WITNESSES, LEFT SHOE AND TIRE IMPRESSIONS THAT I GATHERED, PHOTOGRAPHED AND TOOK DAYS OFF TO DO WHAT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT IS ALREADY OVERWHELMED WITH! THE SUSPECTS WERE EVENTUALLY BUSTED FOR A SERIES OF COPPER THEFTS AS WELL AS CREDIT CARD FRAUD, WHERE THE COURTS MADE THEM A DEAL, SUBSEQUENTLY DROPPING MY CASE, THEY DID ABOUT A YEAR AMD ARE BACK ON THE STREET!!!1 AND THEY'RE ILLEGAL!!! THEN WHILE I SLEPT AT HOME ONE NIGHT, EMPLOYEES OF A SOUTHER CALIFORNIA LANDFILL,(ILLEGAL EVERY DAY WORKERS) WHERE I WAS SUBCONTRACTED, WERE BUSY STEALING $12.000 IN TOOLS FROM ME, AS WELL AS THE ENGINEERING CONTRACTORS SURVEY LASERS, GENERATORS AND ANYTHING NOT BOLTED DOWN, TO THE TUNE OF $150,000 GET THIS! THEY ARE STILL WORKING THERE!!
THEY MURDER, RAPE, KIDNAP AND SLING DRUGS WITH IMPUNITY!! ACTUALLY ARROGENT ABOUT IT!! THEY ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF TRAFFIC COLLISIONS, MOST ARE DRUNK 24/7 AND CAN'T DRIVE TO BEGIN WITH. ITS A GIVEN, WHEN TRAFFIC SUDDENLY SLOWS FOR APPARENTLY NO REASON, TEN TO ONE THE CAUSE IS USUALLY SOME DUMB ASS MEXICAN AT THE WHEEL OF YET ANOTHER OVERLOADED MINIVAN, OBLIVIOUS TO THE FACT THAT HE'S DOING 45 MPH, IN A 65 MPH, USUALLY IN THR DIAMOND LANE!!! WE DESPERATLY NEED TO TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK. I FEAR IT'S ALREADY TO LATE! THEY'VE RUINED ANY QUALITY OF LIFE HERE. I CARRY A 45 ON A DAILY BASIS AND ITS UNDER MY PILLOW AT NIGHT. WHO MADE IT LAW THAT THE LAPD CAN NOT ASK THE CITIZENSHIP OF A SUSPECTED MURDERER, RAPEST, ETC,ETC???? THERE IS SOMETHING VERY SICK TAKING PLACE AND QUITE FRANKLY, I'M ON THE VERGE OF DEALING WITH THIS WHOLE ISSUE IN A MOST UNLAWFUL MANNER. IT'S CALLED, START WACK'N N STACK'N EM!
Why do we have to petition the government to enforce our national security laws? And why does Arizona have to create a law to protect itself from illegal intruders?
Our federal government is failing to enforce laws and protect American citizens against this illegal invasion, and our FEDERAL OFFICIALS and federal employees SHOULD BE CHARGED and JAILED for BREACH OF PUBLIC TRUST and DERELICTION OF DUTY. We can start by putting GW Bush and Obama on trial and work down from there. These paid government officals should be held legally accountable for destroying our country.