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Thread: Prosecutors crack down on immigration cases

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Prosecutors crack down on immigration cases

    By Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter 9 hrs ago

    BOSTON – Manuel Castillo-Coroy was deported by federal immigration authorities three times between 2011 and 2013.

    In March, the 41-year-old Guatemalan man was caught once again by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the Greater Boston area, according to Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb’s office. He was sent to prison for 10 months for re-entering the country after deportation. After that, he faces deportation yet again.

    Rumeni D. Romero, 32, a Honduran citizen, was deported four times between 2006 and 2013 but returned to the United States, according to Weinreb’s office. He was picked up in Chelsea in January and charged with illegal reentry.

    The men are two of a dozen or so immigrants charged with illegal re-entry to the United States by Weinreb’s office in recent months.

    Weinreb, who has held the job since U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz stepped down in January, has ramped up prosecution of immigration cases and wants to make sure the general public and the Trump administration know it.

    In recent weeks, his office has fired off nearly two-dozen press releases about cases of previously deported immigrants who’ve been charged, convicted or sentenced for illegal re-entry - a felony that carries up to two years in prison.

    His predecessor only issued 10 such press releases on illegal re-entry cases during her entire five-year tenure, according to the U.S. Attorney’s public affairs office.

    A spokeswoman for Weinreb didn’t respond to a request for comment, but his crackdown reflects President Donald Trump’s priority of prosecuting immigration crimes.

    Trump, a Republican who wants to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep people from crossing into the country illegally, signed an executive order shortly after taking office in January that calls on federal authorities to target immigrants who’ve “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

    It was a significant departure from former President Barack Obama’s policy, which primarily sought out immigrants convicted of felonies or multiple misdemeanors.

    In April, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new wave of immigration enforcement, directing prosecutors to prioritize immigration enforcement and announcing the hiring of several new immigration judges to handle the extra cases.

    Sessions’ directive came less than a month after he forced the resignations of 46 U.S. attorneys, many of them appointed by the Obama administration.

    Ninety-three U.S. attorneys are the top federal prosecutors in 94 districts, including Massachusetts. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands share a prosecutor.

    It’s not clear whether Weinreb will be offered the job permanently. He’s worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office since 2000 and gained notoriety as the lead prosecutor in the Marathon bombing conviction of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

    Sessions hasn’t outlined a time frame for appointing new federal prosecutors. The former senator from Alabama has been more direct about the administration’s policy toward illegal immigration.

    “For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned. This is a new era,” Sessions said in remarks to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in April. “This is the Trump era.”

    Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative Washington think tank, said an estimated 400,000 cases of people who reentered the country illegally were “ignored” in the Obama administration because they weren’t wanted for murder, rape or other violent crimes.

    “These cases were deliberately set aside,” she said. “Obama’s immigration policy granted de facto amnesty to people who are serial immigration violators.”

    Vaughn said Trump’s get-tough approach is nothing more than a return to what was commonplace before Obama loosened some of the deportation priorities.

    Obama carried out many more deportations than previous presidents, setting a record of more than 2.4 million formal removals, according to Department of Homeland Security figures.

    But supporters of tougher immigration enforcement say the Obama administration policies were selectively enforced.

    “Many of the people who’ve been formally ordered not to come back to the country are involved in criminal activity,” Vaughn said. “It’s not fair to the entire immigrant community to let them get away with it.”

    Cities such as Lawrence and Salem that have declared themselves “sanctuaries” that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities compound the problem because they create safe havens for people who’ve broken the law, Vaughn said.

    Several people arrested in the break up of a Lawrence-based heroin and fentanyl ring two weeks ago — which is also being prosecuted by Weinreb’s office — were said to be in the country illegally.

    Leaders of the drug ring even bragged on wiretaps about being deported multiple times, according to prosecutors.

    Crossing the border illegally the first time is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Reentering illegally after being deported is a felony carrying a maximum sentence of two years and up to $250,000 in fines.

    The penalty can be enhanced up to 20 years if the offender has a serious criminal record, but most people receive shorter terms, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission guidelines.

    Deportations are usually handled by civil courts. In recent decades, the Department of Justice has stepped up prosecutions of undocumented immigrants, instead of just deporting them, according to immigration attorneys and advocates.

    There were an estimated 150,000 immigrants living illegally in Massachusetts in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center.

    While exact figures aren’t available, immigration advocates say they’ve seen an uptick in deportations in Massachusetts since Trump’s executive order went into effect.

    Trump’s policies have sown fear in immigrant communities and made them less safer because they’re dissuading people from reporting crimes, advocates say.

    Some worry that Trump’s directive will wrongly ensnare people whose only crime was crossing the border to find work or reunite with their families.

    “Unfortunately, it plays to this narrative of the immigrant as a criminal, which is false,” said Eva Millona, executive director of Massachusetts Immigrant Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “It puts hardened criminals and everyone else into the same box.”

    But even staunch critics of Trump’s immigration policies say they support crackdowns for people returning to the country illegally after being chronically deported.

    Rep. Juana Matias, D-Lawrence, has proposed making Massachusetts a sanctuary state that restricts local police from cooperating with ICE agents. But she doesn’t have a problem with Weinreb’s tough approach to illegal reentry cases, she said.

    “These are people who have clearly committed crimes, and it’s important that they are prosecuted to send a message,” she said. “He’s doing his job of enforcing the law.”
    Beezer and Judy like this.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    Put them in Federal Tent City on Federal Land with a panel of Federal Judges in the desert.

    All illegals and Visa overstays should be placed there.

    Let them carry buckets of sand back and forth from one end of the compound to the in and day out...then deport.
    Judy likes this.


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