Grassley Amendment to Immigration Bill Allows Amnesty Even with Two DUIs

An amendment proposed by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to the comprehensive immigration reform bill that clears the path to citizenship for illegal aliens with two convictions for drunk driving has passed.

As the Senate committee continues the markup process on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, very little has changed from the original Gang of Eight proposal that would grant citizenship to the estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. However, on Monday Sen. Grassley was able to pass an amendment that won't grant citizenship to anyone with three drunk driving convictions.

The amendment also stops deportation of anyone who has two or more drunk driving convictions before the passage of the bill:

TWO OR MORE PRIOR CONVICTIONS. —An alien who received 2 or more convictions for drunk driving before the date of the enactment of this Act may not be subject to removal for the commission of an aggravated felony...

The Grassley amendment would mean that citizenship could have been granted to people like Carlos A. Martinelly Montano, who had two drunk driving convictions before he struck a car while drunk, killing a nun and injuring several other passengers, in Bristow, Virginia in 2010:

Carlos A. Martinelly Montano, 24, faces up to 70 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 3 on the murder charge and a host of lesser related charges to which he pleaded guilty earlier in the day.

The charges stemmed from an Aug. 1, 2010, crash in which Martinelly Montano struck a car carrying Sister Denise Mosier, 66, as she was traveling to a retreat at the Benedictine Monastery in Bristow, Va.

Martinelly Montano, who entered the country illegally with his family from Bolivia in 1996, had twice been convicted on drunken-driving charges before the accident. After the second conviction in 2008, he was released by the county into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security and was awaiting a deportation hearing when the crash occurred.


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