Latinos Now Majority of Those Sentenced for Federal Felonies, Thanks to Immigration Crackdowns


There's a new majority in prisons, according to a quarterly report released yesterday by the U.S. Sentencing Commission: Latinos.They've gone from just 16 percent of federal prisoners to 50.1 percent in the last few months of the fiscal year.

So says The Associated Press (AP):

The commission's statistics also reveal that sentences for felony immigration crimes—which include illegal crossing and other crimes such as alien smuggling—were responsible for most of the increase in the number of Hispanics sent to prison over the last decade.

The demographic change in who is being sent to federal prison has already prompted debate among commissioners and experts studying the impact of expedited court hearings along the border.

"Statistics like this have to start drawing attention to this country's immigration policies and what we're doing, if this is one of the results," said Fordham University Law School professor Deborah Denno, an expert on racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

"The implications for Hispanics are huge when you think of the number of families affected by having their breadwinners put away for what in some cases would be considered a non-violent offense." [Emphasis added.]

Meanwhile, an article in today's Huffington Post takes a look at the mixed attitudes and upbringing of some U.S. Border Patrol agents and other tough on immigration activists who also have Latino blood. The most interesting case is a Minuteman, originally born in Cuba, who went on Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days" television show and was sent to live with a family of illegal immigrants. There he learned that compassion and being really harsh on poor people who commit victimless crimes can go hand-in-hand:

The episode depicts a change in [Frank] Jorge's once stringent views on illegal immigration. In the opening of the episode, Jorge says he had thoughts about calling an ICE bus to come pick up the family within 30 seconds of his arrival. By the end of the episode, Jorge looks into the camera and says, "Perhaps what we learned is that first and foremost, we are human beings, and that's the thing that overrides politics and everything else." He tells the eldest Gonzalez daughter Arminda, who is undocumented, that he will not return to the border as a Minuteman. He says he has gained "another perspective," and agrees to help the family members gain legal residence by attesting for their character.

But, Jorge now maintains that his change of opinion was mostly fabricated by the television show's producers. In a phone interview with HuffPost, he said he still considers himself a Minuteman and is now the co-host of "The Frank and Shannon Show," a radio show that advocates mass deportations and "securing that border militarily, with armed soldiers, with orders to shoot."

What was not fabricated, he claims, was his affinity for the undocumented family he lived with. "They were really lovely people, I loved them—rather, I love them," he said.

Although Jorge himself is an immigrant and insists that he would "be trying 10 times a day to get over here" if he were on the Mexican side of the border, he says his intellect has driven him to be an advocate of harsher enforcement policies against illegal immigration.

Read the rest here. Reason on immigration.


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  1. Cheaper to just shoot’m and leave’m for the buzzards.

    1. Aren’t you just precious!

      1. The truth hurts man.

        1. Does thinking hurt for you too?

          1. Are you suggesting that long-term incarceration is somehow cheaper than immediate disposal?

            1. Cheaper than either of your choices is ignoring them and letting them work, pay taxes and raise children who will be productive tax contributors in the future.

            2. OK, so shoot everyone and then no one has to spend any money on anything. Everyone wins, right George?

              1. Higher deterrent factor as well. So overall, it’s just a better business case.

                1. And why is labor meeting market demands something that needs to be deterred, exactly?

            3. The Captain: Someone is using a counter jamming frequency projector, Find it and destroy it.

              Mr. Fibuli: Captain, do you suppose any of the guards knows what a counter jamming frequency projector looks like?

              The Captain: Destroy everything!

  2. Although Jorge himself is an immigrant and insists that he would “be trying 10 times a day to get over here” if he were on the Mexican side of the border, he says his intellect has driven him to be an advocate of harsher enforcement policies against illegal immigration.

    So his intellect has either driven him to affirm contradictory premises, or to endorse a glaring, blink-tagged, double standard.

    1. Do as I say, not as I say!

    2. I don’t think intellect means what he thinks it means.

    3. It’s obvious: he’s racist against Latinos.

    4. Or, he’s saying that even though he feels sympathy for the people he was around, he rationally feels that they should still be punished. I think when he says “intellect”, he means that it comes from his mind rather than his heart, not necessarily that it’s genius-level thinking.

      Obviously, libertarians (as people who tend to put emotions front and center in any decision) should condemn this.

      1. I think the juicier bit was that he said he too would be trying to get in illegally, yet he still views illegal immigrants as immoral and deserving of punishment. IOW, he’s a hypocrite.

        1. 1) If you were starving, would you steal?

          2) Do you believe that people who steal because they are starving should be given immunity from prosection?

  3. Liberty means we have to station massive amounts of troops on the border! We have to keep the hisp^H^H^Hillegals out! We can’t dismantle the welfare state because the illegals are coming across the border to get welfare! This is NOT a victimless crime, I’m a victim because they took my job! Electrified fences! Automated machine guns!

    1. Automated machine guns!

      You would want to steal the jobs of those poor, hard-working machine gunners.

  4. Ron Paul’s six point plan puts a stop to illegal immigration:
    1.Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.
    2.Enforce visa rules.Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.
    3.No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.
    4.No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.
    5.End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.
    6.Pass true immigration reform. The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation. This is insanity. Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.

    1. FAIL from step 1…

      1. All fail except #6.

        1. Since this particular issue hits close to home for me (my wife has been in the midst of the damn process for nearly four years), this alone is enough to send me towards the Johnson camp.

  5. Hooray, another way to increase our prison population by incarcerating nonviolent offenders.

  6. Wider Gates, Taller Fences.

    No point in having a gate if there isn’t a fence around it, but we need to let more people in to the country legally per year than we do now.

    We should have a high maximum number of immigrants allowed -say like 25 million- but you have to come through the front door. This way immigrants who want to come here legally to work can do so, and then we can take the actual border more seriously and actually enforce the law.

    You could take that 50% of Latinos in federal prison, put them on a bus and tell them to get in line with everyone else if they truly want to just be here to work and make a living.

    1. No Gates, No Fences, No government interference in movement.

      1. So why even have a country?

        Our government (despite the attitude taken by an alarmingly high number of politicians to the contrary) has a a list of limited and enumerated powers. One of them is protecting our borders.

        I understand if your argument is to have no borders at all, I just think that this is an unrealistic way of approaching our immigration issues.

        1. Although I agree with you (to an extent) on the idea of ‘Wider Gates, Taller Fences’, ‘protecting’ us from teh immigrants is not an enumerated power. They do not constitute a foreign power and much less a foreign army.

          1. I understand the argument that yeah, immigrants are not “invading” the US per se, which Article IV specifically enumerates as a power the government is enumerated to protect us from -“and [The United States] shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

            Still, I think if we are going to have a border this is the only realistic way to deal with the issues of having millions of people who just want to come here to work.

        2. “Protecting the border” means from attackers, not preventing people from freely moving about in order to sell their labor.

          Liberty fail.

          1. And how are we to tell the difference between “attackers” and “people just coming to work” if we don’t have some sort of gate?

            1. If you can’t tell the difference between an approaching army and some lettuce pickers, you have a serious mental problem.

              Liberty fail.

              1. Yes, because we all know that the only threat against the US comes from a standing army.

                Reality Fail.

                1. So terrorists are stopped by preventing people from moving freely? Damn, that worked fucking great for 9/11!

                  Actuality fail.

                  1. No, I said that “standing armies” are not the only threat facing this country.

                    The 9/11 terrorists were here legally, so the gates did not help in this instance. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are more threats to the US than just standing armies.

                    I know Epi, you’re an anarchist so you’ll never agree with me about this.

                    1. Tman is right, the only threat we have to fear is… foreigners!

        3. Borders don’t have to be barriers obstructing free movement of people. They could just as well simply delineate who has jurisdiction where. There is nothing inherent in the idea of a country or national borders that requires keeping careful track of who crosses borders.

        4. Can you imagine what would happen if LA or NYC were swarmed by uneducated hicks from the heartland if there weren’t borders protecting the integrity of these cities? Yech!

          Since the creation of the EU, France is now basically Eastern Europe, and all the native French have to resort to locking themselves in their homes to keep out teh swarthy gypsies.

          1. Can you imagine what would happen if LA or NYC were swarmed by uneducated hicks from the heartland if there weren’t borders protecting the integrity of these cities?

            I think the protection runs the other way.

        5. For large portion of the existence of our country and for centuries before that we managed just fine with little to no immigration control. In my mind the only thing that should be difficult (but not impossible) to obtain is citizenship.

          1. Well, for most of that time, the ocean was a limiting factor for the influx of white people. We either shot the red people or herded them into reservations. The problem now is that there no geographic boundaries to keep the brown people from just walking into our home.

            1. Racist troll is racist.

              1. In retrospect, it may have been a bad idea to bring in so many black people on a free one-way ticket.

                1. On the other hand, shipping them back didn’t seem to work out so well.

                  1. Can’t live with’m, can’t get rid of’m.

                  2. “On the other hand, shipping them back didn’t seem to work out so well.”

                    Is there anything in history dealing with sub saharan Africa that has worked out well?

        6. So why even have a country?

          You have a country because you believe that its government will rule you better than some other government.

          Prohibiting peaceable people from crossing the border has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

  7. Nosotoros numero uno!

    1. Nosotros, amigo. So only a +.5 for you.

  8. I want to hear what the Texas cops have to say about this in their internal emails.

    “sentences for felony immigration crimes – which include illegal crossing…….”

    IIRC back a couple of years it was continually stated in the press and elsewhere that crossing the border illegally was a civil offense, not a criminal offense.

    1. I believe the felony comes once you reenter the U.S. after having been expelled before. Could be wrong about that.

    2. It is most certainly a criminal offense to enter the country illegally. Note that’s different than overstaying a visa. And probably what they were referring to with all that push to change “illegal” to “undocumented”. I.e. a disingenuous gimmick because we all know people are arguing about the migrant workers, not the visa over-stayers.

      And there’s lots of related felonies, such as using a stolen SSN that illegals do. The article is playing games by waving at the bunch and saying “illegal crossing” is in there to try and imply victimless crimes.

  9. We’re number 1!!!!!!!

  10. I don’t believe the immigration issue is as cut-and-dried as people on either end of the debate think.

    For me, it is a difficult issue. I do believe a country is entitled to limit immigration and has a duty to control its borders, but also that highly restrictive immigration policies are usually worthless and possibly unjust. Go ahead and take away my secret libertarian decoder ring, I guess…

    Reinstating and expanding the Bracero program would seem to be a good start to coping with migrants who don’t desire to stay here. Getting the hard-working, otherwise law-abiding migrants out of enforcement cross-hairs would allow ICE to deal with the small subset of migrants who come here to become criminals or welfare moochers.

    Unfortunately, I think anti-immigration sentiment will continue to rise until the unemployment rate goes down, regardless of whether immigration is causing the problem.

  11. felony

    n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine. 2) a crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison, since a year or less can be served in county jail. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute. Felonies are sometimes referred to as “high crimes” as described in the U.S. Constitution.

    Felonies are serious crimes whether violent or not.

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