Immigration 
Sunday, January 11, 2009, 10:32 PM
There's been a recent trend at the Justice department to find criminal statutes to prosecute illegal immigrants with, rather than simply deporting them. This of course is quite different than arresting someone for a crime, and then discovering they are an illegal immigrant. In this case, the discovery is made that the person is an illegal immigrant and then a search is undertaken for a crime that they can be charged with. Examples include stretching the definition of identity theft to include an illegal who provides a false social security number to an employer. Most of these prosecutions involve a departure from how the law is traditionally applied, and involve massive plea bargains (with up to 40 people being sentenced at a time) extracted from individuals with minimal command of English and very little idea how our justice system works.

I think putting these people in jail instead of shipping them back across the border is a waste of my tax dollars, but the NYT carries it a step further in arguing that such prosecutions are taking resources away from much more important crimes:
Immigration prosecutions have steeply risen over the last five years, while white-collar prosecutions have fallen by 18 percent, weapons prosecutions have dropped by 19 percent, organized crime prosecutions are down by 20 percent and public corruption prosecutions have dropped by 14 percent, according to the Syracuse groupís statistics. Drug prosecutions ó the enforcement priority of the Reagan, first Bush and Clinton administrations ó have declined by 20 percent since 2003.


The article details that the Justice Department has implemented a policy that they will not prosecute marijuana cases involving less than 500 pounds. Anything less than 500 pounds is referred to local authorities, many of whom are unprepared for the sudden influx of new cases and who also lack the resources to carry the investigation further up the chain. In other words: to placate the anti-immigrant sector of the Republican party, we're now letting drug dealers go free. Awesome. Sounds like a huge win for our country.

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