Re-entry into the U.S. illegally after having been deported is a felony, but Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is considering curbing deportation policies for aliens who have committed re-entry crimes.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that the change could result in tens of thousands of illegal aliens, all guilty of repeat immigration violations, being allowed to stay in the country.
The AP reported that these immigrants “don’t have serious criminal records.”
Given the report’s rhetoric, it is easy to surmise that the AP does not consider a felony as being “serious.” Federal law 8 U.S.C. § 1326 defines illegal re-entry as a felony.
Interpreting that law, AllLaw.com stated, “Under federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1325), anyone who enters the Unites States illegally is committing a misdemeanor and can be sentenced to a fine or to six months in prison…The offense of reentering, or attempting to reenter the United States after being removed or deported, a felony offense. You will likely be permanently barred from the United States if you illegally reenter after a prior removal.”
John Sandweg, the former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, drew up the proposed deportation change for Johnson’s review. An unidentified immigration activist helped Sandweg create the proposal, according to the AP.
The pair proposed that only immigrants who “pose a danger to national security or public safety who’ve been convicted of crimes” be on the deportation “priority list.” Illegal aliens guilty of re-entry crimes, under Sandweg’s plan, would be off the list completely.
Sandweg said to the AP, “The time had come to focus ICE’s efforts exclusively on public safety and national security.”
Clark Stevens, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, told the AP that Homeland Security “has undergone a very rigorous and inclusive process to best inform the review.”
Opponents of the proposal argue that easing-up on deportation practices will make our country less secure.
Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, said the U.S. should not reward illegal immigrants who re-entered the country illegally by allowing them to stay. This could encourage others to commit the same crime.
“The security of the nation and its people come first,” Taylor told Breitbart Texas. “We need to tell illegal immigrants not to enter the country with our actions, not our words. We can start by taking away their incentives to be here — all benefits including medical, food stamps, public housing, and education. Being an illegal alien is not a right to citizenship.”
The Obama Administration, however, continues to review various ways that the deportation process can be made “more humane,” according to AP reports.
In an effort to blame the GOP-led House for stalling such steps, President Obama said last week, “The only way to truly fix it is through congressional action. We have already tried to take as many administrative steps as we could. We’re going to review it one more time to see if there’s more that we can do.”
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby said on the matter, “This comes immediately after the New York Times and other left-of-center outlets began thrashing the Obama Administration for supposedly having a high number of deportations. As I reported previously, even some repeat sex offenders were simply being deported repeatedly without consequence. Prior to this president, illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony, resulted in incarceration. I questioned how many of President Obama’s increased deportations are actually the same individuals who are simply no longer prosecuted.”
It has become apparent that illegal immigrants are already beginning to take advantage of U.S policies that are enforced for humanitarian-like reasons.
Early in April, Breitbart Texas reported on a growing trend along Texas’ southern border that involves illegal immigrants turning themselves in to Border Patrol officials and expressing “credible fear” for their lives. Word has apparently spread throughout Central America that immigrants who take these steps have a good chance of obtaining asylum in the U.S.
The New York Times reported that the practice is straining federal resources, causing “detention facilities, asylum offices and immigration courts [to be] overwhelmed.” At this point, it is unclear how U.S. officials and facilities will keep up with the increasing number of immigrants who state that they are in fear of their lives.
Breitbart Texas recently reported that roughly 7,000 sex offenders have been deported from Texas alone in the past three years.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate
Logan Churchwell contributed to this report.