Drug War

ICE: Protecting Americans From Pot-Smoking Foreigners


According to a new report (PDF) from the Department of Homeland Security, drug offenders accounted for almost a third of the 128,345 "known criminal aliens" who were deported from the country in fiscal year 2009. The report does not specify types of drug offenses. But as I noted in a column last spring, noncitizens, including legal residents who have lived here most of their lives, can be locked up indefinitely and deported for extremely minor drug crimes. Selling a few grams of marijuana makes a resident deportable, and so does possession of drugs for personal use, including small amounts of marijuana in some cases. After "dangerous drugs," the second biggest category of crimes triggering deportation was "traffic offenses" (16 percent). The Drug War Chronicle notes that "persons convicted of what are commonly considered serious crimes (assault, larceny, burglary, robbery, fraud, sexual assault) made up only 20.7% of those deported."

Addendum: No matter how often I say that I am talking about people who live here legally, readers still respond by saying that illegal aliens have no business being in the country to begin with. If you enter the country illegally (or overstay a visa), you are already subject to removal. The issue here is people who live here legally until they become deportable because of trivial, often victimless crimes. What I'm suggesting is that lifetime banishment from a country where you have lived (legally!) for decades is excessively harsh for many of these offenses.

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  1. Um…not seeing the problem here. I can only see one of two arguments at work in this post:

    1. The sale of a “few grams” isn’t a big deal. However, many more serious gang members and drug cartels are ALSO the ones caught and deported. This is a fact. I’m sorry if this disrupts the totally-open-borders ideological preference. And this in no way should be construed as support for the WOD.

    2. We are supposed to feel sorry for people caught for “minor crimes” who are then found to be in violation of a “major crime.” This, to me, is a major non sequitir. Regardless of how I feel about either the minor crime (pot smoking) or the major crime (illegal immigration), I don’t see how my sympathy for the individual in one case should have any bearing on my view of them in the other case.

    Of course, I could just be a racist xenophobe because I’m tired of living down the street from Mexican drug gangs that are constantly killing and kidnapping and conducting your run-of-the-mill home invasions.

    OK, proceed to my e-tarring and feathering.

    1. …major crime (illegal immigration)…

      You misspelled “minor civil offense”.

      1. ^^This. Illegal immigration isn’t even a criminal offense.


  2. You’re a guest, once you start breaking my things, I have every right to toss you out.

    1. What if I’m your neighbor’s guest, and I’m smoking a little pot?

    2. Pot smokers are breaking your ‘things’?

      1. They broke our borders, tacofucker. That’s good enough for me.

        Taller fences, no gates, idiot.

        1. They “broke our borders”…

  3. Well, if they were smoking schwag, they deserved extradition.

  4. The greatest, noblest libertarian cause is always standing up for people’s rights, especially when the people in question are extremely unpopular.

    We stood up for terrorists who were being tortured. I stood up for the rights of FLDS members when their children were taken away on a crank phone call…

    This another one of those babies.

    If the government is using drug policy to rid the country of various undesirables, then somebody should call them out on it. The drug war is a shitty means to enforce immigration law, and I’m glad to see someone paying attention to that.

    Even if you’re against illegal immigration–there’s no reason for people to be thrown out by any means necessary. You throw them out for being illegal, not because of traffic violations. …and if we’re talking about legal residents here?

    Pot possession and speeding tickets are not a good enough reason to throw legal residents out of the country.

  5. The law’s the law, tacofucker. Go back to your own dusty country if you want to smoke dope. I ain’t paying for your rehab, Jos?.

    I hope Fred sticks around. It’s nice to have someone around who’s not afraid to defend his country.

    1. “I hope Fred sticks around. It’s nice to have someone around who’s not afraid to defend his country.”

      Um… se Sullum’s addendum.

      1. I put my comment up before the addendum, I’m glad to say proudly…

        But it does go to show that the immigration issue has morphed for a lot of people–there are no nuances for a lot of them anymore…

        Illegal, legal…doesn’t seem to matter to most of them anymore–they just don’t like immigrants and they don’t give a damn what our government does to them as long as it means less immigrants.

        And they’re shameless.

  6. $113 billion is spent on marijuana every year in the U.S., and because of the prohibition *every* dollar of it goes straight into the hands of criminals. Far from preventing people from using marijuana, the prohibition instead creates zero legal supply amid massive and unrelenting demand.

    According to the ONDCP, two-thirds of the Mexican drug cartel’s money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S., and they protect this cash flow by brutally torturing, murdering and dismembering thousands of innocent people.

    If we can STOP people using marijuana then we need to do so now, but if we can’t then we need to legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match. One way or the other, we have to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate their highly lucrative marijuana incomes – no business can withstand the loss of two-thirds of its revenue!

    To date, the cartels have amassed more than 100,000 “foot soldiers” and operate in 230 U.S. cities, and the longer they’re able to exploit the prohibition the more powerful they’re going to get and the more our own personal security is put in jeopardy.

  7. “The drug war is a shitty means to enforce immigration law, and I’m glad to see someone paying attention to that.” I COMPLETELY agree. These people that live here for years and when they turn 17 or 22 they start smoking a little pot and when they get pulled over they get deported for not having an ID (they cant obtain driver licenses) and their buddy that is a citizen gets away with just $100 fine without even getting handcuffed cus he had his CA ID. Seems wrong to me, and for all the right wing nut jobs its WRONG to be so emotionally involved with a border issue when in fact this is their continent and its morally wrong to deny them access to the first world.

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