MARCH 23, 2007
Although it’s a violation of federal law to enter the United States illegally, federal authorities have a secret rule that violators must be arrested at least half a dozen times before being prosecuted.
An internal Department of Justice memo confirms what many have alleged for years – that the federal government is not properly enforcing immigration laws, forcing cities across the country to do it with local ordinances that have faced costly legal battles.
The secret government memos were released in response to a congressional probe of eight recently fired federal prosecutors. The U.S. Attorneys office in Texas, for instance, issued specific guidelines that said illegal immigrants crossing into the state had to be arrested at least six times before being prosecuted.
Looking the other way while repeat offenders violate U.S. law may seem outrageous for government officers who take an oath to uphold the law. After all, the U.S. Federal Code is quite clear on the illegality if improper entry by an alien. It is a federal crime punishable by fines and imprisonment of up to six months. Repeat offenses carry prison sentences of up to two years and hefty fines.
The recently released Justice Department memos are not the first to disclose the U.S. Government’s outright negligence when it comes to enforcing immigration law. A lengthy congressional report published last year revealed that immigration laws are seldom enforced by federal authorities even though an estimated 1 million aliens are annually apprehended trying to enter the country illegally.
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