"Bring Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Criminals…"
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The Academy Award for the dumbest and most dangerous legislation of the decade goes to Rep. Barney Frank, a creepy left-wing Democrat from creepy left-wing Massachusetts, [Contact Barney Frank] who's sponsoring a bill that would allow aliens who have been deported because they are convicted felons to apply for re-admission to the United States.  But as creepy, left-wing, dumb and dangerous as the bill and its main sponsor are, the measure would have gone nowhere without the support of the Stupid Party and its chieftains.

The chieftain in this case is House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, who cut a deal with the repellent Mr. Frank to bring the bill up in the committee last week.  The bill "keeps the beneficial reforms from the 1996 law while letting a select group of legal permanent residents request discretionary relief from an immigration judge," one of Mr. Sensenbrenner's staffers spouted to the Washington Times. ["Immigration bill offers felons a second chance," July 17, 2002]

Current law provides that aliens who are legal permanent residents but have been convicted of aggravated felonies can be deported after they have served their sentences, but they can apply for what's called a "cancellation of removal" before an immigration judge. Prior to 1996, the applicant only had to show that his sentence did not exceed five years in the pokey and that hardship to a relative would result from his deportation.  In 1996, Congress, apparently in a fit of draconian rigor, enacted changes in the law to require that the applicant's sentence not exceed one year and that the relative would suffer "exceptional" hardship from his deportation.  

Happily, immigration authorities were able to cleanse the country of some 71,000 criminal aliens in 2001 alone thanks to the 1996 law. 

Apparently, that's far too many criminals deported for Mr. Frank and his Republican pals.  Mr. Frank's bill would undo the 1996 law, and his allies on the Judiciary Committee are all for it.

His chief ally, Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, [send her mail] says that "lawmakers realized soon after its passage that the 1996 law went too far," according to the Times.

"These individuals who were deported—their crimes were not offenses that were heinous or horrific," she whined.  The bill, she says, does not affect "terrorism-related crimes," and indeed as the Times reports, the proposal "would apply to those convicted of assault, arson and robbery" with sentences of less than two years in prison and those convicted of child pornography, alien smuggling, and document fraud with sentences of less than four years.  Those convicted of "terrorism-related offences" as well as murder, rape, or child molesting aren't eligible to apply to stay in the country.

As to why these distinguished solons imagine that it's a good idea to make it easier for arsonists, thieves, kiddy porn peddlers and other scum to remain in the United States with a chance to become American citizens is anyone's guess.  Bear in mind the bill is being considered less than a month after the Los Angeles airport killings by an alien who managed to stay here by exploiting legal loopholes and in the same week that California police were looking for the Hispanic male—probably an immigrant—believed to have kidnapped, raped, and murdered 5-year-old Samantha Runnion.

[VDARE.COM note: It's impossible to say at this time what Alejandro Avila's citizenship status is, but he comes from a family of Mexican criminals. Avila's father, Rafael Avila, was deported to Mexico in 2000 after serving time in Chino and Lancaster state prisons for killing a neighbor during an argument. His brother, Juan, was shot to death in Rosarito, Mexico, possibly by members of his own gang. Ron Unz take note: despite many years in the US, including 11 years in state custody, the elder Avila "only speaks Spanish", which his son, the suspect doesn't, much.  "A disturbing picture of the suspect emerges Man in slaying is no stranger to violence," Los Angeles Times Service, Jul. 21, 2002]

The point is that the Frank bill [PDF] merely makes it much easier for such criminal garbage to get into the country and stay here. As for "terrorist-related offenses," of course the bill doesn't cover those convicted of them.  No lawmaker who is not politically suicidal would propose that this year.  The point again is that people inclined to commit terrorism are also inclined to commit the very crimes the bill does cover.  The distinctions that Mr. Frank and Miss Jackson-Lee try to draw between these hoodlums are simply without merit.

But not only does the bill open the door to letting convicted felons stay in the country, under the Sensenbrenner compromise, it also allows aliens already deported to apply for re-admission.  The Justice Department would set the rules under which re-admission would be granted.

What's incredible about the whole concept of the bill is not that any lawmaker, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, would propose that convicted criminals should have a better chance of staying in the country or coming back than the law now permits. 

What's incredible is that all immigration has not long since been halted and all illegal aliens rounded up and deported. 

And what is most incredible of all is that the American people not only continue to allow the wretched criminal refuse of foreign countries to remain here at all - but that they allow the wretches who sit in Congress and concoct legislation like this to remain in office at all.


July 22, 2002

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