Kamala Harris Says Lawbreakers Aren’t Criminals

Published on April 29th, 2015

California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, who self-identifies as “a career prosecutor,” proclaimed, “I know what crime looks like.” Harris continued: “I know what a criminal looks like who’s committing a crime. An undocumented immigrant is not a criminal.”

Really? Has it not occurred to this profound legal thinker to ask why such “immigrants” lack legal documents? The answer, of course, is that they are here illegally, and most commonly we call people who break laws … criminals.

All this shows is that Harris has a soft spot in her heart, and perhaps her head as well, for illegal aliens, an accurate legal name for so-called undocumented immigrants. This is not the first time she has displayed such sympathies.

Kamala Harris
California AG Kamala Harris.

Harris strongly opposed California’s participation in the federal Secure Communities program which requires states and localities to detain criminal suspects for deportation if a database check confirms that they are illegal aliens. Subsequently, the state passed legislation not to comply with Secure Communities. The Obama Administration refused to challenge this lawless defiance of federal law, thus allowing foreign criminals – some dangerous – to remain in California.

If AG Harris were to have a crime perpetrated against her by one of these individuals, maybe even she would acknowledge criminality. But that’s probably the only thing that would do it. Harris and her fellow thinkers are profoundly committed to the notion that all illegal aliens are good, law-abiding folks and that breaking immigration laws is really no crime – or at least not one of any significance.

One way proponents of illegal immigration make this claim is by stating that one-time border crossers are guilty of a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Also, they point out that foreigners who overstay their legal visas are committing a civil offense rather than a criminal one.

Yes, crossing the border illegally for the first time is a misdemeanor, but it’s hardly one in the category of jaywalking because a penalty for it on the books is up to six months of incarceration. And yes, overstaying is a civil offense, but to say it isn’t a crime is a semantic dodge. As the Cornell University Law School website observes, “A crime is any act or omission (of an act) in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it.” Thus it is not inaccurate to call overstaying a crime.

Another point is that a great number of illegal aliens are not one-time border crossers, but individuals who are caught once or multiple times at the border before finally making it in successfully. Subsequent entry after an apprehension is a felony, not a misdemeanor. Further, border crossing and overstaying are only the first of the offenses that illegal aliens commit. To live illegally in America for any length of time, they have to break many laws of significance, often while harming American citizens in the process.

Illegal aliens commit felony-class crimes when they use fake documents to obtain jobs and other amenities they need to sustain themselves. Often they steal the identities of citizens, which imposes great inconvenience on those citizens. Illegal aliens break the law requiring businesses to hire citizens and legal foreign residents, thereby taking employment from these people.

Close to half of illegal aliens receive payment for work under the table, which is the crime of tax evasion. The IRS generally regards tax evasion as a serious offense, one that places a burden on other taxpayers to make up the lost revenue. Interestingly, the IRS seems much more likely to ignore tax evasion by illegal aliens and their employers than the general run of Americans.

The Center for Immigration Studies has a good summary of the specific laws illegal aliens routinely break to maintain their illegal residence. Another issue is whether illegal aliens commit other types of crime, such as theft and assault, at a higher rate than citizens. Their American advocates cite studies claiming that they don’t, but other evidence suggests that they do. A question to consider is whether people who break some laws are more likely to break others.

So why is Kamala Harris, California’s chief law officer, so congenial to violators of America’s immigration laws? Perhaps it’s because she lacks the patriotic attachment to care about the national sovereignty that those laws protect. If someone thinks this explanation is excessively harsh, he’s most welcome to offer a better one.

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