Judicial Watch • Court Okays Longer Sentence For Illegal Immigrants

Court Okays Longer Sentence For Illegal Immigrants

Court Okays Longer Sentence For Illegal Immigrants

SEPTEMBER 23, 2010

In a much-needed legal victory for the often defeated immigration enforcement movement, a federal appellate court has ruled that a criminal’s sentence can be increased if he or she is in the United States illegally.

The case involves a pair of illegal aliens (Hector Loaiza-Sanchez and Jose Luis Juarez-Gonzalez) who pleaded guilty in an Iowa federal court to drug felonies, conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute a substantial quantity of methamphetamine.

Federal sentencing guidelines for such crimes range from 168 to 210 months for each defendant. A northern Iowa district court judge, Mark Bennett, said that he would have sentenced the illegal immigrant drug dealers near the bottom of the guidelines if they were in the country legally. Due to their unauthorized status, Judge Bennett instead slapped one defendant with a 188-month punishment and the other with 200 months.

The illegal aliens appealed, claiming that their sentence was improperly based on their immigration status and that it’s illegal to use alienage as a reason to increase a sentence. Upholding Judge Bennett’s decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that unauthorized immigrant status is separate from alienage because not all Hispanics are in the country illegally.

The appellate court dismissed the defendants’ suggestion that taking immigration status into account is national origin discrimination because the majority of illegal aliens are Hispanic. “A person’s legal status as a deportable alien is not synonymous with national origin,” the court points out in its 7-page ruling.

Furthermore, the ruling says, judges are allowed to consider all information concerning the background, character and conduct of an individual when sentencing them. Guidelines specifically point out that a sentence can be lengthened when the defendant’s criminal history does not completely characterize his illegal acts and entering the country without papers is an illegal act, the judges write.

Tell that to the open borders movement, which includes President Obama and the cabinet official he appointed to protect the nation from foreign threats.

 

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