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Thread: 10-year-sentences possible in Memphis logistics immigration case

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    10-year-sentences possible in Memphis logistics immigration case

    10-year-sentences possible in Memphis logistics immigration case

    Daniel Connolly, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published 7:15 p.m. CT Dec. 19, 2017 | Updated 7:52 a.m. CT Dec. 20, 2017

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    (Photo: Yalonda M. James/The Commercial Appeal)


    Hilda Hernandez and her husband Edgar Marin-Lopez are facing a federal prison sentence of up to 10 years each and eventual deportation, and a child welfare agency in the state of Mississippi has taken custody of their two children, defense attorneys said.

    The charge: using fraudulent documents to get jobs at a logistics company.


    The children might remain in state care for a long time. Immigration holds have been placed on both husband and wife, meaning if they get out on bond, they could immediately be taken into immigration custody, lawyers said.


    More: Feds escalate criminal case against immigrants arrested at Memphis logistics firm


    More: 20 arrested at Memphis logistics company; processing took place at immigration office, state charges filed


    The threat of the decade-long sentences and the move of the couple's children to state care illustrates the severity of the charges facing the group of 20 immigrants from Mexico and central America arrested last month at the logistics company called Expeditors International. The situation also shows the consequences to their children.


    Hilda Hernandez (Photo: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

    "This is very unfair. All these people were doing was trying to work," said Gene Laurenzi, appointed Tuesday as defense lawyer for Edgar Lopez-Marin. He, his wife and other defendants made initial appearances.

    In a news conference last week, federal law enforcement officials said the government is pursuing this case hard because the workers had access to a sensitive air cargo area at Memphis International Airport that required special clearance.


    “It is imperative for the safety and security of our airports, seaports and railyards that all individuals requiring this type of special vetting present valid and genuine identification documents in the hiring process,” said Robert Hammer, assistant special agent in charge with Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


    The government hasn't alleged that the immigrants committed other crimes while on the job.


    Last week U.S. Atty. D. Michael Dunavant had said the immigrants might face five years in prison, not the 10 announced in court for some defendants Tuesday.


    The difference is that some immigrants were charged with fraudulent use of a green card immigration document, which carries a 10-year maximum sentence, while some were charged with falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen, which carries a five-year maximum, said Joe Murphy, criminal chief with the federal prosecutor's office.

    Academic researchers from the University of Memphis concluded years ago that some staffing agencies in Memphis were willing to accept low-quality fake documents from immigrants. The researchers concluded it was part of a system that allowed bigger companies to use unauthorized immigrant labor without facing consequences.

    Laurenzi, the defense lawyer, said he doesn't know what the defendants did. "My question is what, if anything, did the employer know?"


    The government hasn't announced any charges against people associated with the temp agency the immigrants worked for, Provide Staffing Services, nor against Expeditors International, the freight company where they were placed.

    Representatives of Provide Staffing and Expeditors International didn't immediately return calls Tuesday.

    Another court-appointed defense lawyer, Lee Gerald, said the process of prosecuting, imprisoning and deporting the immigrants is a waste of taxpayer money.

    "It's Donald Trump's America!" he said, with a broad gesture to the courtroom scene behind him.


    It was a busy room: Hilda Hernandez and another female defendant sat in bright yellow-orange prison suits at a table. On the other side of the room were Edgar Lopez-Marin and about 15 other men wearing light tan prison clothes, chains around their waists, hands shackled in front of them.


    A cluster of interpreters, defense lawyers and defendants talked for about an hour Tuesday morning before Magistrate Judge Charmaine G. Claxton entered the room and started formal proceedings.


    Foster care


    Federal prosecutors say Hernandez and Lopez-Marin are both from Mexico. They were apparently working in the Memphis area and living across the state line in Mississippi.

    An immigration lawyer assisting Lopez-Marin's case, Jessica Wiseman, says Mississippi took their children into custody. She and Laurenzi said they didn't know the children's ages.


    A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services said state law doesn't allow her to comment.


    An administrator with DeSoto County Youth Court didn't return phone calls.


    Mauricio Calvo, head of the advocacy group Latino Memphis, said his organization is working with the couple and that it's likewise his understanding that their two children are in foster care in Mississippi. "What we have heard is they are OK."


    Several of the other immigrants arrested are also parents - it's unclear how many. Separately, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services has said the agency resettled two young boys with a relative.


    Case transferred to federal court


    The immigrants were arrested Nov. 28 by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in cooperation with federal agents. They originally faced state criminal fraud charges and went through hearings in county court at 201 Poplar.

    Then on Dec. 13 the U.S. Attorney's Office announced it was filing federal charges in the cases. The Shelby County District Attorney dropped all the state charges.


    Federal prisoners generally serve a much greater percentage of their sentences than they would in the state system.


    No release on bond


    Lopez-Marin and his wife were among defendants Tuesday who didn't ask for hearings to be released on bond. The reason: even if they make bond, they could be taken into immigration custody and possibly shipped to a detention center in Louisiana.

    One of the defendants, Fernando Ramos-Jacobo, sought bail, but the judge said no because the immigration hold could disrupt the case.


    Several other bond hearings were reset for Thursday morning.


    Reach reporter Daniel Connolly at 529-5296, daniel.connolly@commercialappeal.com, or on Twitter at @danielconnolly.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/stor...nse/965713001/

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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Beezer and GeorgiaPeach like this.
    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Send those kids into the CARE AND CUSTODY of Mexico!

    We do not want to pay for them!
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    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beezer View Post
    Send those kids into the CARE AND CUSTODY of Mexico!

    We do not want to pay for them!
    Oh hell yes! GET THEM (mod edit) OUT OF HERE ... NOW!!
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 02-25-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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    Mother and father have spent 88 days locked up, even after payment of bail money, say

    Mother and father have spent 88 days locked up, even after payment of bail money, say lawyers

    Daniel Connolly, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published 7:00 a.m. CT Feb. 25, 2018 | Updated 8:16 a.m. CT Feb. 25, 2018



    A mother and father from Mexico have spent 88 days in custody as of Friday, and their two children remain in a foster home, defense lawyers said.

    They're charged with using fraudulent documents to get jobs at a Memphis warehouse. They remain imprisoned even though two federal judges granted them bail in separate decisions last month.

    The bail money was paid to the court on Jan. 23 - $1,000 for the father -- Edgar Lopez-Marin -- $500 for the mother, Hilda Hernandez, according to records.

    But that bail was related to their criminal cases. The government still contends they're in the country without permission, and 32 days later, the couple remains locked up at an immigration detention center in Jena, Louisiana. They could face deportation.

    “I think my client is being held illegally," said Gene Laurenzi, a criminal defense lawyer who represents Lopez-Marin in the case.

    Laurenzi recently filed a motion asking the judge to force the federal government to choose a path: either drop the criminal charges or stop the deportation proceedings.

    The federal prosecutor's office declined to comment.

    The couple were among 20 immigrants from Mexico and central America arrested in a Nov. 28 sweep at logistics company Expeditors International in southeast Shelby County.


    All 20 are accused of living in the country illegally and using fraudulent documents to land jobs at the company through a staffing agency, Provide Staffing Services.

    Many have U.S. citizen children, and a federal magistrate judge cited that fact in granting bond to several of them in a series of hearings in December. But those hearings and others focused on the criminal cases and left the immigration issues unresolved.

    Release on bond might come soon

    The mother and father might be released from immigration custody soon, but at a high price.

    Laurenzi, the defense lawyer, said Friday that another lawyer told him an immigration judge set a $10,000 cash bond for Hernandez.

    Laurenzi doesn't know if the family can pay it, and an online database said Friday that Hernandez was still in custody in Louisiana.

    The attorney said the father, Lopez-Marin, should have an immigration bond hearing Monday.

    Laurenzi argues that the federal judge's ruling on bond should matter more than any ruling by an immigration judge - immigration judges are administrative law judges under the federal government's executive branch, as opposed to federal judges who have the full backing of Article III of the constitution, which sets up the judicial branch.

    "The judge in the criminal case has set a bond," Laurenzi said. "There shouldn't be another bond in any other case. And immigration is doing just what they want, and they're thumbing their nose at a federal judge."

    The government hasn't filed a motion in response to Laurenzi's argument.

    But in a related case in December, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Delery argued against bond for other defendants.

    In one case, the prosecutor said the defendant had an incentive to flee because she faces both deportation and charges in a serious criminal matter involving document fraud. "It's a crime of dishonesty," Delery said.

    When announcing the federal indictments against the 20 people last year, U.S. Atty. D. Michael Dunavant said the case deserved prosecution. "Obviously, it is critical to our work and to federal law enforcement that we focus our priorities and our resources on cases that further reduce illegal immigration and that we aggressively prosecute those cases where fraud is involved."

    He also said authorities were protecting a critical infrastructure site - air cargo at Memphis International Airport.

    Impact on families

    Casey Bryant, legal director of the immigrant rights defense center at Latino Memphis, represents Lopez-Marin and Hernandez on their immigration matters. They have a 17-year-old son and a daughter who's about 10. Bryant said the girl is a U.S. citizen, and the son also has legal immigration paperwork.

    "You don't have to be an immigrant to be affected by immigration," she said. She said these children are facing the extreme trauma of their parents' sudden disappearance, as are many other children like them.

    She said the children are in state custody in Mississippi, where the family was living. "Fortunately, they were placed in a very hospitable foster home. But I don't think they're gonna forget very soon how hard it's been for them to be without their parents."

    Various federal court hearings have taken place in recent weeks. Bryant said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently released some of the other defendants from a detention center in Mason at no cost after they posted bond in their criminal cases.

    A new legal strategy

    The federal court appointed attorneys for many defendants who couldn't afford their own lawyers. Now those criminal defense lawyers are working with immigration attorneys to attack the government's two-pronged prosecution as illegal.

    In a recent New York case, a judge wrote that the government must either release the defendant from immigration custody and prosecute him criminally, or drop the criminal case and try to deport him. "It simply cannot have it both ways," the judge wrote.

    Defense attorney Lee Gerald used that case as a basis for a motion filed in Memphis, and other lawyers working on the Expeditors International case have cited the New York case, including Laurenzi, Lopez-Marin's attorney.

    More worksite arrests coming

    While the Expeditors International cases drag on, the Trump administration is ramping up work site immigration enforcement.

    More such actions are likely to take place in this region and throughout the country starting in March, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Tom Byrd.

    "Those same actions where those 20 were arrested is the type of thing that's going to become more prevalent over the next several months," he said.

    https://www.commercialappeal.com/sto...ers/353584002/
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  6. #6
    MW
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    In a recent New York case, a judge wrote that the government must either release the defendant from immigration custody and prosecute him criminally, or drop the criminal case and try to deport him. "It simply cannot have it both ways," the judge wrote.
    Another idiot judge that doesn't understand that deportation is not considered a punishment. The illegals need to be prosecuted for their crimes. If found guilty, they do their time and then get deported, if found not guilty, they get deported. Either way the end result will be deportation.

    All illegals facing prosecution for a crime should be considered a flight risk!
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Personal responsibility. These people put their children in this position because of their own decisions to break multiple laws that carry a penalty of prison and they are not special because they are illegals. Where are the bleeding heart pro illegal alien immigration lawyers when American citizens are sent to prison and their children wind up in foster care? - nowhere....JMO
    Last edited by Newmexican; 02-27-2018 at 03:18 AM.
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