My commentary today is predicated on a news release that was posted by the Chicago, Illinois office of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on March 7, 2012.
The news release reported on the success in prosecuting an illegal alien who is a citizen of Belize, for the federal crime of re-entering the United States after he had been deported as an aggravated felon. In point of fact, this criminal alien, Moses Anthony Francisco, had been previously deported four times and had committed a number of serious crimes including two separate crimes which resulted in the death of his victims.
Let's start out with a personal note; this case provides me with a bit of vindication because back in the early 1980's when as an INS Special Agent, I was frustrated by the difficulty my colleagues and I had experienced in presenting cases for prosecution to the offices of the United States Attorney for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, especially when the crime we presented involved aliens who had been deported and then re-entered the United States without the requisite authority of the Attorney General. I made the decision to reach out to New York's Senior Senator, Alphonse D'Amato and explained that there were a number of issues I believed needed to be addressed. Senator D'Amato had earned the nickname, “Senator Pothole” because he had a reputation for actually listening to his constituents and going to bat when he thought it was justified.
I had a number of meetings with Senator D'Amato and he asked that I provide him with substantiation to support my recommendations. Over a six month period, I convinced approximately 30 of my colleagues at the former INS to come forward, without the knowledge of our superiors.
Here were the proposals:
- The INS should stop simply counting every arrested illegal alien as being of equal importance- criminal aliens needed to become the priority.
- Deportation hearings should be conducted inside prisons. Previously an alien who was serving many years behind bars subsequent to being convicted for a serious crime would not see an immigration judge until after he completed his sentence. Often this meant that such an alien would be permitted to post a bond and spend years out on the street while his deportation case was being resolved. Often this provided criminal aliens with the opportunity to commit more crimes and/or abscond. The point to hearings conducted inside the prison was to have an alien rendered deportable before his prison sentence was completed. He could be simply put on an airplane the day he was released from prison. This became the “Institutional Hearing Program.”
- The penalty for illegal re-entry carried a maximum of a two year prison sentence. This would be an appropriate sentence for an illegal alien who had no criminal history but an alien who had a serious criminal history should face a far more significant punishment. I had recommended that the maximum sentence be 20 years in prison. This was important for two reasons- to help convince the U.S. Attorney's office to accept the prosecution of criminal aliens and to create a far greater deterrence to discourage criminal aliens from returning to the United States.
Senator D'Amato agreed with all three proposals and helped bring them to fruition including the creation of the enhanced penalties provision in conjunction with the immigration law that addresses illegal re-entry by aliens who are convicted felons!
In fact, in part because of the greater acceptance rate of prosecutions for unlawful re-entry of criminal aliens, in many districts across the United States, immigration prosecution represents the greatest number of criminal prosecutions!
I mention these issues to make it clear that if our leaders are willing to address the challenges that illegal immigration creates- that those challenges can be met and successfully dealt with! The solution to our nation's illegal crisis that involves an illegal alien population that is likely two or three times greater than the estimate often cited by the administration of 11 million is not to promise more incentives to illegal aliens and aspiring illegal aliens, but to ramp up enforcement and convince people throughout the world that our immigration laws will be effectively enforced. This is not a novel approach- think of how many times you have seen signs on businesses and private homes that advertise that they have burglar alarms or at the least an attack dog defending the premises!
Could you imagine a homeowner posting a sign on his home that noted that there were valuables to be found inside, and that the owner of that location being surprised when burglars broke in? Could you imagine what the conversation among the police and the insurance adjuster with the homeowner would be like when they were called to the crime scene?
Now let's look at this case in particular. I am pleasantly surprised that the news release accurately and unambiguously identified Moses Anthony Francisco as an illegal alien from Belize. (All too often ICE news releases fail to address the immigration status of aliens or even make note of the fact that an alien is indeed an alien!)
We are often told that our immigration system is broken- what is broken is that our federal government is failing to provide the resources and support, both material support and moral support to the beleaguered enforcement personnel of ICE and CBP (Customs and Border Protection) to make certain that the job gets done and that illegal aliens are deterred from entering our country. There is no deterrence to be found when the President and other so-called “leaders” in our government repeatedly promise that they will do everything possible to put many millions of illegal aliens, whose true identities and backgrounds are unknown and unknowable, on a “pathway to United States citizenship!
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has often assured us that there is no “spillover” violence from Mexico. While there was no mention as to how Mr. Francisco repeatedly entered the United States after being deported, it is entirely possible that he managed to run our nation's southwest border on at least one of his illegal entries into the United States. The news release indicated that his most recent illegal re-entry took place in May of 2010. This illegal re-entry happened on Ms. Napolitano's watch.
While he had been found guilty of taking the lives of two victims in California, he was apprehended most recently in Chicago where he was involved with the violent Crips Gang. The point is that the immigration crisis is not simply important for the citizens of our nation who reside in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas- but is truly a crisis for every citizen living in every state of this nation!
Finally, it would be significant to know how he managed to apparently evade the inspections process on four occasions and know what, if anything, ICE is doing to address the obvious vulnerabilities in the system that enabled this one man crime wave to easily traverse our nation's borders. Think of how many people have likely been injured by Mr. Francisco in addition to the two he killed. Consider this excerpt from the news release:
According to court documents, Francisco is a six-time convicted felon with a criminal history that includes the following convictions: involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, robbery, attempted robbery, brandishing a weapon, and illegal re-entry. In 1985 Francisco was convicted in California of involuntary manslaughter after stabbing his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend in the chest and killing him. His conviction for vehicular manslaughter occurred in California in 1989. While driving a stolen car, Francisco caused a crash that killed a passenger in another car during his escape attempt after he robbed a victim at knife-point.
Francisco is also a self-admitted member of the East Side 43 Gangster Crips in Los Angeles and has tattoos documenting his membership. According to court documents, Francisco admitted he is a ranking gang member, and was a “shot caller” for the gang while he was incarcerated in the California Department of Corrections and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. As an admitted member of the Crips "executive committee," he had input regarding whether acts of violence were approved and committed by fellow Crips inmates.
It would appear that the passenger he killed in 1989 would still be alive if Francisco had not been able to unlawfully re-enter the United States after he had been convicted of stabbing his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend.
Our nation's immigration laws are intended to accomplish two major goals, save American lives and save American jobs. Certainly other important benefits would accrue through securing our nation's borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws.
With those goals in mind, any candidate for elected office, especially the Presidency, must come to accept just how vital the immigration laws are to the safety and security of our nation and our citizens and be willing to do what is necessary to insure that those laws will be effectively enforced.