JUNE 20, 2007
U.S. federal courts located in states that border Mexico are suffering a major crisis caused by an overwhelming number of cases involving illegal immigrant offenders.
Much worse than previously thought, the bombardment of illegal immigration-related cases in the system has forced court staff to work weekends just to survive. The U.S. District Courts deeply affected are located in New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California, Western Texas and Southern Texas.
Since 2002, these five border districts (there are 90 in the federal court system) had an average of nearly 4,000 criminal cases annually compared to about 400 criminal cases in the nation’s other federal court districts.
A thorough analysis of the federal court system, conducted by a news organization, reveals that more than half of the criminal cases in each of the five border districts involve federal immigration charges. In New Mexico 70% of all criminal cases last year were immigration related as well as 70% of all cases in Southern Texas.
The problem is so severe that it has created huge backlogs and prevented courts from conducting other daily business. The best part is that American taxpayers are financing the fiasco, not only by paying for the normal court operation and overtime for employees but also providing illegal immigrants with free public defenders.
One veteran U.S. Marshal in New Mexico points out that, for some reason, there is a huge misconception among the public that a criminal immigration case doesn’t require a lot of effort or work. The reality is that every defendant is entitled to the same process as a U.S. citizen, including a free lawyer, an arraignment, a speedy trial and a costly criminal background check by a federal probation officer.
This proves that besides taking a huge toll on U.S. healthcare and public education–at a cost of billions annually to American taxpayers – illegal immigrants are also severely hampering the criminal justice system.
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