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From: Hal Netkin: [e-mail him]
Amazingly, I just discovered that under existing law, anyone who has entered the U.S. without permission is already subject to a $5,000 fine.
Under the Federal Code, Section 1459. Reporting requirements for individuals:
(a) Individuals arriving other than by conveyance except as otherwise authorized by the Secretary, individuals arriving in the United States other than by vessel, vehicle, or aircraft shall
(1) enter the United States only at a border crossing point
designated by the Secretary; and
(2) immediately -
(A) report the arrival, and
(B) present themselves, and all articles accompanying themfor inspection;
In addition to being liable for a civil penalty under subsection (f) of this section, any individual who intentionally violates any provision of subsection (e) of this section is, upon conviction, liable for a fine of not more than $5,000, or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both."
Immigration authorities never bothered to collect millions of dollars in fines in the past. How could anyone to believe that Homeland Security will do it now?
If a $5,000 fine is imposed under the Senate's bill, to square the "former" illegal alien with the law the fine would have to be $10,000—$5,000 for the previously unpaid fine and $5,000 for the current fine.