Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Court's In Session, Defendant Absent

I've expressed my strong support on this blog for expedited immigration and deportation proceedings where illegal immigrants are involved in criminal activity within our borders. What to do with peaceful and working illegal immigrants and anchor babies is a much broader subject, and I want to narrow this discussion to the pathetic status of our immigration courts and the need to expel our foreign-grown criminals quickly and efficiently.

American courts in general need a good slap in the head to wake up those who seem to forget that justice delayed is justice denied. But the immigration courts make the others look like models of efficiency and decorum. When an American citizen doesn't show up for his criminal trial, procedures immediately go into effect to find him and prosecute him. When a foreign-born illegal immigrant who has already been convicted of a criminal offense doesn't show up for his deportation hearing, well, them's the breaks.

Any criminal illegal who doesn't show up for his immigration hearing has plenty of company. About 40% of previously-detained illegal immigrants who have been ordered to appear for a determination of their deportation status simply don't bother to do so. I suppose we can count that as an improvement. Prior to 9-11, the number was closer to 50%. At their peak, failures to appear reached 59% in 2005 and 2006. But never fear, the immigration courts are on the job. When the illegal fails to show up, the court immediately issues another order to appear.

But don't ever fail to appreciate the ingenuity of the Department of Justice in its current bid to prove that it's diligently pursuing the matter (it's up to other agencies to catch them in the first place). The 40% figure that the DOJ is touting actually includes those who are presently in custody for other reasons. They don't have much choice in turning up for their deportation proceedings. Take them out of the calculation, and the number of no-shows rises dramatically.

Well, what if they actually do show up and are ordered to leave the United States? Many are released back into the population pending arrangements for the government to remove them. Others are held in custody, but later released because of "overcrowding" or other jail/prison conditions. That leaves us with well over a million who have been ordered out of the United States, but are still hanging around. Many of them go on to commit further criminal offenses.

Eric Holder and his public relations people have tried to convince Americans that they have been even more diligent than the prior administration in prosecuting deportations. They claim that only 20% of illegals win their deportation cases, while the numbers allowed to remain were much higher during the prior administration. That's only because the calculation has been changed. Under the prior administration, deportation figures "won" by the DOJ included only those in which the illegal contested his or her deportation. That makes it appear that the DOJ won a lower percentage of immigration cases under the prior administration.

Holder's department includes uncontested deportation proceedings in its calculation, which makes the apparent percentage of success much higher than it actually is. If Holder's DOJ used the same formula as that of the prior administration, Holder's success rate would be considerably lower than that of his predecessors. Figures don't lie, but liars sure can figure.

The entire immigration court system needs serious reform and a true mission. The DOJ needs to quit distorting figures in order to please both nativists and supporters of unrestricted immigration. I guarantee you that this will not happen while the Democrats control the White House and the Senate. But it is something the public needs to understand as part of their choices during the 2012 elections.

If you cannot click on the picture and get a larger version of it, here's what the sign says: "Give us free health care. Jobs--no taxes. House. Food. You owe us America! We will shoot more police in Arizona until we get free!" That should give you an idea of why I am unrelenting in my support for removal of criminal illegal immigrants, now. Genuine immigration reform needs to be addressed, and draconian "deport them all" positions are as foolish and dangerous as "leave them all here" proposals. But when it comes to crime, prosecution and followup, I cannot in good conscience believe that it is inherently inhumane to send them back where they came from.

24 comments:

T-Rav said...

And now my blood is boiling once again, as so often where worthless illegal aliens/core Democratic constituencies are concerned. Thanks LawHawk.

Tennessee Jed said...

you know Hawk, this is a great piece. But I do believe, this issue serves as a microcosm of all that is wrong with big government. It doesn't surprise me the A.G. (and others) use accounting slight of hand to make the numbers look good. This is not simply a publuc sector problem, by the way, but they are the supreme masters of it.

What I really wonder about are the rank and file. My guess is they tend to be rank and file technocrats with cushy federal benefits whose mission in life is to make things easy for themselves. Again, they are hardly alone in that, but as a taxpayer, we are beginning to recognize it is long past time to make them accountable.

Pandering to the "Latino" vote seems to be a favorite pass time of both parties. The only argument I have ever heard about the rationale is that big metro police forces will not turn them in because sometimes they need illegals for snitches, and will lose their street cred if they turn them in to INS

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, this sounds like a system designed for maximum bureaucrat ineffect. These courts are a mess, but they aren't that different from the rest of Club Fed -- and these are the people the Democrats want to handle your healthcare. . .

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I think the politician's have a vested interest in crime in the streets. Fear!! Keeps the local yokels in line.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Always pleased to give the readers a wake-up message. LOL Laxity in enforcement has been a hallmark of administrations Republican and Democratic for far too long. Holder's Justice Department, however, seems to be something other than lax. I think "complicit" might be a good word. The dishonesty about the alleged increased prosecution rate is just the frosting on the cake.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
They are not illegal aliens they are undocumented Democrats. These constituents are vital to the Democrats efforts to save the country by crashing it.

Koshcat said...

How about we start by bringing home all the troops from Afghanistan and have them patrol the boarder first. Since the drug cartels have declared it a war zone, anybody crossing illegally will be seen as an invader and shot. Then we can figure out what to do with those already here. It is crazy how fast a deported criminal can slip back in. No use deporting them if the border is a seive.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: As bad as the "administration of justice" is in the immigration courts, it is only a good example of big government inefficiency because it's so pathetically obvious. But you are absolutely right about this being one of the problems of big government. With this administration there is the additional problem of its refusal to cooperate and outright hostility toward any state authority that might try to help. Ask anyone in Arizona. At the heart of the concept of federalism is the ability of local government to deal with local problems better than leviathan two or three thousand miles away.

Many of the "lifers" in the immigration services and courts would rise to the occasion, and have, when there is a sense of mission coming from on high. Right now, we have a highly-politicized DOJ that doesn't encourage either efficiency or dedication to enforcement.

As for the Latino vote, you've hit one of the reasons for laxity by local law enforcement in the big cities, but it's just one of many. The other reasons are largely political.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: "Maximum bureaucrat ineffect." I think they now put that motto on the wall in every federal office.

The federal civil enforcement authorities have long been a model of inefficiency, but it wasn't that long ago that federal criminal enforcement and federal criminal courts were light years ahead of the states in the matter of efficiency. Sadly, the cancer in the civil courts has spread deeply into the criminal and enforcement arena as well.

It is truly a scary proposition that the same people with the same mindset want to run our healthcare. Maybe we should draft a new motto for that: "Medical care delayed is medical care denied."

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: There's more than a little truth in that.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: In California, they're often not undocumented Democrats. First, we send them to DMV to get a driver's license. Then we have them circle the building, produce their new driver's license as ID, and register to vote.

LawHawkRFD said...

Koshcat: That suggestion has been made more than once, and it's not entirely invalid. The Posse Comitatus Act has too often been cited as the reason not to use military troops. But that Act was to keep the military from enforcing law within the borders of the United States. The Founders were suspicious of any form of government which used its military troops as "police" since it easily converted into government suppression by the central government. But protecting the borders from a massive influx of "invaders" is not expressly forbidden by the Act or the Constitution. That said, it is simply unnecessary.

The same central government that won't use its inherent power to enforce the borders by non-military means would do the same thing if it called in the military. Only now we would have large numbers of troops stationed in all our border states. That's a danger if we should have a potential tyrant in the White House, and a waste of manpower if the government doesn't order the troops to use their firepower to stop the invasion.

The federal government already has sufficient means to enforce the law and secure the borders. But without the will to do it, the ability to do so dies aborning.

StanH said...

Illegal immigration is a festering boil on our great land, if not addressed has the potential of collapsing our republic. As far as these criminal aliens not showing up for a court date, is what I like to call a Mexican mulligan, they have extra rights…I’m still waiting for a list, from my representatives of laws that I can ignore. I read a great expose some years back, I believe Walter Williams, where he was talking about he would like relinquish his citizenship and become an illegal alien, you get: free healthcare, food, housing, transportation, communication, no real taxes, exempt from the law, etc. This has got to come to a screeching halt, we after all are supposed to be a nation of laws?

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I think we all get our blood up when it comes to this disparate treatment that encourages illegal immigration. The federal court just upheld California's law that grants in-state college tuition charges for illegal immigrants. That means a guy or gal from Texas or New York who wants to attend the University of California will pay 40% more than a California resident or an illegal immigrant. And there are no grants or scholarships specifically designated for the Texan or the New Yorker, but there are for the illegals. It's called The California DREAM Act. Does that add some fuel to the fire for ya?

We are no longer a nation of laws, we are a nation of selective laws. When the government picks and chooses which laws it likes and which it doesn't, which it will enforce and which it won't, we are at risk of the loss of our essential liberties. The latest bill passed by the House would remove federal funding from "sanctuary cities." It's unlikely to get past the current Senate. But even if it did, would the government enforce it? Frankly, I don't think so.

rlaWTX said...

did anyone else notice in the citizenship test (yesterday's link) that the right answer to our form of gov't was "democracy"?

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: I missed it. Thanks for the note. It's just wrong, wrong, wrong. No wonder people don't understand the concepts of the electoral college and federalism. "Republic" is relatively easy to define, but without that basic knowledge they can't possibly understand all the other safeguards the Founders built into the Constitution. And how can they distinguish between a democracy and a representative democracy? It's more than a little scary. No wonder we have an out-of-control central government.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I think that's on the "Government Worker Seal," right above the coffee cup and the Washington Post.

Koshcat said...

Thanks for educating me on the Posse Comitatus Act. My statement was a little tongue in cheek. However, I find it irritating that we have several thousand troops in Afghanistan protecting us from what? A bunch of islamic hillbillies. At this point, I really don't see the taliban as a threat to national security. However, I do see the border problem as one. If I was king, I wouldn't just put them on the border but march them across a few miles. Invade Mexico? Yes. Buy the Mexican government's lack of either desire or ability to control the border towns, they have effectively declared war on us.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: That fits. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

Koshcat: I was pretty sure you were only half-kidding. But even in jest you brought up an issue that seems so obvious. Even if it's not the army or the marines at the border, shouldn't we have someone there--armed, backed-up, and with a determination to stop the invasion?

A great many conservatives and no small number of liberals agree on Afghanistan and the Taliban. I hate to say it, but the left's term "quagmire" occurs to me several times a day.

If the military were used, it could only hold its ground and stay on our side of the border. "Hot pursuit" is the one exception to that rule. Otherwise we would have to declare formal war against Mexico (which now that I think about it, might not be a bad idea).

But that is overkill. We have enough law enforcement and border patrol agents to stem the tide today. Put them all along the border, arm them properly, limit and secure the legitimate border crossings, then issue orders to shoot to kill if someone crosses the border anywhere except an established border crossing. If we're capable of putting a SEAL team in place right under the Pakistanis' noses, we're capable of using the CIA to do something similar with the cartels on the other side of the border. I'd rather it was the SEALs, but then we would have to admit publicly that we are actually at war with Mexico. We are not, and shouldn't be. Mexico has provided America with millions of good, solid, hard-working citizens--legally. Our "war" is with the illegals and the cartels, not with Mexico.

Koshcat said...

Agree, although I have a funny feeling that much of the best of Mexico has to offer has already refugeed to the US. I have met many very hard working and legally questionable people. Those are the people I want here. There are a few other people born here I would rather send back. Unfortunately, criminals have followed some of these fine people.

LawHawkRFD said...

Koshcat: I think you put your finger on a very important issue. As Andrew and I have both discussed rather extensively, the solution is neither "get rid of them all" or "give them all amnesty." True immigration reform must come, and we have to avoid the far extremes. One extreme leaves us with meaningless borders, useless immigration laws, and a "come 'n get it" mentality among those who want to come here. The other extreme deprives us of a whole class of future legitimate and loyal citizens. The borders must be secured first, then we can start to work on effective immigration laws and enforcement, along with incentives for those who would clearly benefit the nation as a whole. We can't deport 12 million illegal immigrants, but we can't leave them all here either. That's the solution that has to be accomplished if we're ever to have meaningful immigration laws.

Patti said...

living in a border state gives one great perspective. interestingly, many more latinos than not support strong immigration laws/enforcing the laws on the books. why? because their families, their grandparents/parents went thru the proper channels to become citizens and the pandering is clear to them, serving to piss them off. i think we are missing the boat. take a hard stand. enforce the laws on the books. the majority of latinos i know are BEGGING for the same.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: I have the same experience. If you'll remember correctly, my lifelong best friend is the son of legal Mexican immigrants, as are both my sons-in-law. They all agree that the illegal immigrant problem impacts them negatively just like it does the rest of us. In my new digs (well, they're a year old now), there is a large Hispanic population. I haven't met a "free immigration" advocate yet.

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