Documents released in the controversy about eight fired U.S. attorneys show that federal prosecutors in Texas generally have declined to bring criminal charges against illegal immigrants caught crossing the border — until at least their sixth arrest.
A heavily redacted Department of Justice memo from late 2005 disclosed the prosecution guidelines for immigration offenses, numbers the federal government tries to keep classified. DOJ officials would not say Thursday whether it has adjusted the number since the memo was written, citing "law enforcement reasons."
This six times rule is dumb for obvious reasons. But let me go and state the most obvious one anyway: Most illegal crossers are probably going to make it across in less than 6 tries. This rule seems aimed at simply reducing the amount of work prosecuting and holding illegals.
What other justification is there for 5 warnings? Cost is the only one I can see. The Justice Department could argue they can't handle the volume of lawbreakers. But that's an argument for hiring a lot more prosecutors and judges to allow prosecution of all illegals on their first attempts. The effect of such a strategy would be to reduce the number who try to cross illegally in the first place. We should spend much more and try much harder to enforce immigration law for a short period of time. Go all out for a year or two. Then the total number of illegal crossers will plummet and the amount of law enforcement resources needed on the border will drop.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 March 24 12:38 AM Immigration Law Enforcement|