Two views on illegal immigration

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<p>Even though Representative Sandstrom's Immigration bill passed the house 2/18/11 overwhelmingly I feel the bill will cause a rift and will cause additional problems rather than solving them. Having the truth about the issues will really help people be reasonable and personally I don't feel that the House or the Senate is educated enough on this issue to make decisions as they have recently made. Now we will need to brace for the consequences and deal with them.<p>


<p>At Sutherland Institute’s immigration debate on January 21, 2011, Paul Mero said, “A lack of legal status in the United States of America is not a crime, it’s a civil violation such as speeding.”  He later said, “How can living here undocumented be evil when a lack of legal status isn’t even a crime?”<p>


<p>In response that same evening, Representative Stephen Sandstrom said, “It is not a civil violation to enter the United States illegally, it is a criminal misdemeanor subject to six months in jail and deportation…the civil violation is if you overstay a visa after lawful entry.”<p>


<p>So which is it?  Who is correct?  Are undocumented immigrants “criminals”?<p>


<p>In a way both of them are correct, what, how can that be? First Paul Mero is correct because in the US you are not punished or considered guilty of a crime unless your found guilty of that crime through evidence. The people that are here in the US that are undocumented have either overstayed their Visas or were not caught crossing the border. This puts this entire group of 11 million to 20 million people in the category of "Unlawful Presence" or as Paul stated a CIVIL infraction not criminal. In other countries people can be considered guilty without going to court yet in the US we follow the Constitution which gives rights to US Citizens and to some people chagrin rights to those that are not US Citizens.<p>


<p>Next Representative Sandstrom is correct that if you are caught entering the US without inspection it is a criminal misdemeanor yet none of these people that are here in Utah were caught therefore they are not considered guilty of that misdemeanor.<p>


<p>So both people are correct in their own way and if Representative Sandstrom would like to go sit on the border and watch people get caught he can wittiness the process and after I spoke with several lawyers about this I was enlightened and learned how the process works or in some cases does not work.<p>


<p>As a legal reminder, a civil infraction is a minor violation of law that is punishable only by a fine, such as a traffic or parking ticket.  A misdemeanor is a crime, less serious than a felony, punishable by no more than one year in jail, such as petty theft, first-time drunk driving, or leaving the scene of an accident.  A felony is a crime for which the punishment is a year or more in prison, even death.  If you commit a “crime,” not a civil infraction, you are a “criminal,” by definition.<p>


<p>Representative Sandstrom made reference to “entering the United States illegally” and cited United States Code “8, 1325,” meaning precisely Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part VIII, Section 1325, “Improper entry by alien.”  It reads, in part,<p>


<p>(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts <p>


<p>Any alien who<p>

<p>(1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or<p>

<p>(2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or <p>

<p>(3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.<p>


<p>(b) Improper time or place; civil penalties<p>


<p>Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of<p>

<p>(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or<p>

<p>(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.<p>

<p>Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.<p>


<p>This citation states that entering the United States is, indeed, a crime under Section 1325 (a) – a misdemeanor on first offense, a felony on second offense, and it’s a civil infraction under Section 1325 (b).  In other words, it’s at least a civil infraction and no more than a misdemeanor on first offense.<p>


<p>Many times the Agents at the border do not process the people crossing with criminal misdemeanors but only the civil infraction under Section 1325 (b)<p>


<p>Interestingly, to Mr. Mero’s point, if we read on in the U.S.C., Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part VIII, Section 1324d, “Civil penalties for failure to depart,” it states,<p>


<p>(a) In general <p>


<p>Any alien subject to a final order of removal who—<p>

<p>(1) willfully fails or refuses to—<p>

<p>(A) depart from the United States pursuant to the order,<p>

<p>(B) make timely application in good faith for travel or other documents necessary for departure, or<p>

<p>(C) present for removal at the time and place required by the Attorney General; or<p>

<p>(2) conspires to or takes any action designed to prevent or hamper the alien’s departure pursuant to the order,<p>

<p>shall pay a civil penalty of not more than $500 to the Commissioner for each day the alien is in violation of this section.<p>


<p>In other words, a “lack of legal status,” or a failure to depart once told to leave, is a civil infraction for an undocumented immigrant.<p>


<p>The better question for all of us in  Utah to ask may be this: Which, among these laws, is most relevant to Utah?  Are Utah elected officials, community groups, businesses and citizens concerned more about an undocumented immigrant’s illegal entry anywhere into the United States or an undocumented immigrant’s lack of status while in Utah?<p>


<p>Of course, the answers to these questions could depend heavily on where you stand.  If you believe that Utah’s state and local law enforcement should become federal immigration agents, you probably will focus on United States Code referring to “illegal entry” into the country. If this is the case you will need their personal information including their full names, birth dates, country of origin an proof they entered without inspection in order to get a warrant or deportation order processed. With the few ICE agents Utah has being overwhelmed with undocumented people that are committing crimes the reality that they will begin to process NON CRIMINAL cases as any type of priority is very low. Separating families and causing great trauma to children by taking their parents or brothers and sisters away from them all because of a Civil infraction is not a prudent step to take especially when law enforcement should be concentrating on law breakers instead.<p>


<p>Pointing out that the US Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that undocumented people using a social security number just to work may not be charged with fraud unless there is proof they were using the false ID or numbers in order to steal. Most of the undocumented people using false social security numbers do it solely so they can work and they have federal, state, med and FICA (Social Security) taken out of their checks that they will never see. In 2009 over 9 billion in social security was paid into the mismatched funds and most of that is attributed to undocumented people paying social security using made up numbers or the numbers belonging to others. The recent figures are even higher so loosing this social security money would also cause some unintended consequences as well and maybe that is why the US  is turning a blind eye on this issue in some respects. <p>

They may not be turning a blind eye if you look at Obama's recent deportations that exceed more than any other president and note that half of them were people without criminal records and that if they don't get to 400,000 deportation they will loose the money allotted to the agency therefore they do go after many of the people that are easy targets even though they do separate families in the process.

<p>Illegal aliens using false social security numbers may not be charged with identity theft if they were only using the number in order to work.<p>

I say may because many states have laws about identity theft so those laws could also be enforced as well. Many of the states that have passed anti illegal immigration law targeting these people (Oklahoma, Texus, Alabama, Arizona etc....) have found that negative result such as 1 billion dollars of rotting crops in the fields last year have caused problems that people did not plan on especially with lost taxes, sales, loss in jobs and the list goes on.



<p>This is a site that clarifies illegal’s, criminal or civil offense.<p>


<p>On the other hand, if you are simply concerned with how undocumented immigrants affect Utah’s public safety, freedom, and economic prosperity, you probably will focus on the parts of the Code referring to a lack of status. Especially since we cannot produce evidence or proof of them crossing without inspection. The very fact that they are in the country without documents is not proof in and of itself. It may seem silly but that is the law and it has to be changed if you want to enforce it differently. <p>


<p>Either way, it’s important for all of us to understand that being an undocumented immigrant is far from evil in the eyes of the United States Code.  There are those that would place machine guns on the border to shoot the people crossing and that reminds us of a not so long ago time when people were ordered to “Show me your papers”. <p>


Christie clarifies: 'Illegal' immigrants are in civil violation

By Kevin Coughlin

April 29, 2008, 12:03PM

Noah Addis/ The Star-LedgerU.S. Attorney Christopher Christie speaks at First United Methodist Church of Dover on Sunday

The office of U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie on Monday issued a statement addressing criticism of remarks he made regarding illegal immigration at a church forum in Dover Sunday.

In response to a question from an audience member, Christie said that immigrants are not committing a crime by being in the country illegally.

Monday, Christie said that while entering the country illegally is considered a federal misdemeanor, simply lacking legal immigration status is a civil violation.

"I can only enforce the laws that they give me," Christie said at the forum sponsored by the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey and the First United Methodist Church of Dover.

Christie's comment drew criticism from Morristown Mayor and Democratic congressional candidate Donald C. Cresitello, as well as scores of comments on Internet message boards.

Critics called his statements incorrect, and indicative of a lax approach to immigration enforcement by the federal government.

Monday, Christie's office is sued a written statement defending the comments, saying they accurately reflected federal law.

"He did not say, nor did he mean, that entering this country through any means other than the appropriate immigration channels is a lawful act," the statement read. "It is not."

The controversy has highlighted one of the most widely misunderstood aspects of immigration law.

Q: Christie said immigrants in the county illegally are not automatically committing a crime by their presence. Is that true?

A: Yes. "Illegal presence" as the offense is called, is not a violation of the U.S. criminal code. A person cannot be sent to prison for being here without authorization from immigration authorities. It is, however, a violation of civil immigration laws, for which the federal government can impose civil penalties, namely deportation.

Q: But he was later asked a hypothetical question about someone sneaking across the border and said that's not a crime either. Is that true, too?

A: No. "Improper entry by an alien" as it is called, is a violation of Title 8 of the U.S. criminal code punishable by a fine of between $50 and $250 and/or a maximum of six months in jail.

It is considered difficult to prosecute because unless authorities catch someone in the act of crossing the border, it is easier to just deport them than spend the time and money needed to prove how they crossed the border. Even in border states, first-time offenders are rarely prosecuted because the court system would be inundated with millions of cases.

Q: So it's a crime to enter the country illegally, but not a crime to be here illegally. How can you do one without the other?

A: It's not hard, and millions of people have done it. People obtain legal visas to enter the U.S. for work, study or tourism and then simply remain in the coun try after the visa expires. Of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, studies show about 40 percent to 50 percent came here legally but are now illegal immigrants.


Well first I am not pro illegal immigration but many people look at it like this:

1. If you are caught crossing the border without inspection it is a Criminal Class B Misdemeanor and you are deported. The second time being deported could result in a felony charge.

2. If you are not caught crossing or if your visa expires then you are unlawfully present within the United States and that is a CIVIL infraction. Similar to not getting a speeding ticket (also civil) because you did not get caught. You would be guilty of speeding, but if you were not issued a citation when it happened you're off the hook so to speak even though you were speeding.

Did anyone see them cross, well the evidence seems clear since they are here but the law does not work that way and we don't call them illegal without first proving it through legal means. Normally in the USA you are innocent until proven guilty. So referring to a group of people that have not been charged, not been given a chance to explain anything is a concern. Some say that they don't have rights, well they do, they don't have all of the rights citizens have but they do have rights. We have seen in the news of several cases where legal residents and citizens have been caught up in immigration raids because agents assumed by where they were working, by their accents or inability to speak English made them guilty of a crime.

The illegal act committed in AZ does not transfer to Idaho etc.. even though it is a federal issue. No police department in the Nation will prosecute Federal Civil the person can be picked up in border states easier than in the inner states since they normally are not stopped and questioned unless they have done something else that merits them being stopped or arrested. Since AZ tried to copy Fed law and make it a State crime as well they may run into additional issues they were not planning on such as the undocumented person asking for a jury trial which is what many lawyers were geared up for. Since they made a Federal Civil infraction into a State criminal one that is one of the unintended consequences that could follow.

3. It is up to the US to prove that the people came over illegally and I know it does not make much sense but someone that has no ID and is what most of us would call illegally here is simply Undocumented. They don't have to tell the agents very much information but many do. The US lacks records on over 11 million possibly as high as 22 million people that are here without documents or born and brought over.

4. ICE cannot just show up at your door because you look like you might be undocumented, they need a warrant with your name on it or a deportation order with your name on it and in most cases they don't have this information unless you have applied through USCIS and then they are going after the easy cases of people that are trying to go through the process legally.

5. Many people from Honduras or Guatemala will tell the Immigration agents that they are from Mexico so they don't get shipped back to their countries making it harder to cross again.

6. So I do not argue that illegal immigration brings crime, drugs, human trafficking and other problems to the country although I do point out that the quoted statistics are often misquoted and misrepresented and that these people do pay property taxes since they pay rent and hence they do pay into the education systems, sales tax and many other taxes including over 11 billion a year into the mismatched social security tax which is a chunk of change. We as US Citizens take advantage of their cheap labor yet we don't understand that prices for hotels, food, homes and businesses will rise when we deport them so we can't have it both ways and morally there are problems with sending mothers and fathers that are supporting their families back to their countries and leaving the children here to be part of a foster care system. Deporting US Citizen children with their parents has also been done although it places the families and children in situations where the health and welfare of these children is placed into danger. Many other factors come into play in these situations especially since many of these towns where they are deported to only pay around $60 to $200 per month and the cost of living is much higher than that.

Give me your tired and your poor and those yearning to be free?


I hope this helps you understand how some people think....

Source(s):… This is a site that clarifies illegal’s, criminal or civil offense.