It’s a telling sign of the lack of enforcement of our immigrations laws that a federal judge actually enforcing the law is newsworthy.
The Brownsville Herald – June 3 2005 – Jorge Enrique Vasquez Carrasco didn’t expect jail time or to be deported when he got caught illegally entering the United States.
The 18-year-old Honduran man expected the same treatment as thousands of other undocumented immigrants who have been set free after receiving a notice to appear in court.
According to federal figures, almost 88 percent of immigrants who receive those notices never appear in court and stay illegally in the United States.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio made a statement Thursday to Vasquez and six other Central Americans who were caught this week crossing the Rio Grande near Brownsville.
“I want you to tell all your friends in Honduras that if they come through Brownsville, Texas, they will not be paroled into the system and they will be put in jail and deported,” Recio told Vasquez in open court as he handed him a jail sentence that could keep him here until space opens at an immigration facility and he could be deported.The one other interesting piece of the story is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is legally bound to carry out the sentences imposed by federal judges. If more federal judges recognized the “notice to appear” for what is is – a “notice to disappear” – and held illegal immigrants for deportation hearings ICE would be forced to address a lager percentage those arrested at the border.
How many illegal aliens are we talking about? This recent San Diego Union-Tribune article notes that the problem with the “notice to disappear” is already out of control, and getting worse.
As word of this border loophole filters back to Central and South America, the volume of people coming to exploit it is likely to grow, according to Border Patrol agents.
Apprehension statistics bolster their assertion. Arrests of non-Mexicans along the U.S.-Mexico border totaled 14,935 in 1995, 28,598 in 2000 and 65,814 last year. In the first eight months of this federal fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, more than 85,000 have been apprehended. Nearly all are no-shows at their court hearings, but comprehensive federal figures are not available.
Statistics aren’t the only evidence. Interviews with immigrants caught sneaking across the border recently suggest the problem will only increase as Central and South American migrants learn of the unintended opportunity.Notice that the 85,000 figure for FY05 (which ends Sept. 31, 2005) is for non-Mexicans. I’m not sure if anyone even has a guesstimate for the number of Mexicans arrested, but is is surely orders of magnitude larger than than 85,000, as they too know about the catch and release program currently in place.
More federal judges like Recio could have a major impact on the illegal alien problem as The Center for Immigration Studies notes in Downsizing Illegal Immigration – A Strategy of Attrition Through Enforcement