Mandatory Minimums

GOP Maps Out New Ways to Throw People in Federal Prison

Senators drafting massive combination bill with "Kate's Law" and "Back the Blue" mandatory minimum sentences that are expensive, unneeded.

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Prison
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New legislation being drafted by House and Senate Republicans would serve essentially as a clearinghouse for their tough-on-crime, tough-on-immigration stances. It would create new mandatory minimums, prepare the feds to imprison thousands more people, find new ways to punish sanctuary cities, and collect biometric and biographic data on anybody immigration takes into custody, regardless of citizenship status.

The 333-page "Building America's Trust through Border and National Security Act of 2017" is being assembled by two Texans, Sen. John Cornyn and House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul. Like omnibus legislation, it's a Frankenstein's monster of cobbled-together bills that probably couldn't get passed on their own, certainly not before Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House.

A source provided Reason a copy of the draft legislation. Among the measures currently included in the bill's text:

  • The bill includes "Kate's Law," legislation designed to increase federal mandatory minimum sentences for illegal immigrants in crime cases. It's named after Kathryn Steinle, who was killed by a felon who had been deported but returned illegally to the United States. It creates a new mandatory minimum sentences for illegal immigrants who commit crimes. An illegal alien who commits any drug trafficking or violent crime gets a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. If that person had previously been kicked out of the country before for committing a crime, the mandatory minimum sentence jumps to 15 years. In addition, those who continue to return illegally to the United States after being deported (regardless of any criminal record) face 10-year sentences if they get caught.
  • The bill authorizes the construction of "tactical infrastructure"—as in physical barriers or a "wall"—along the southwest border of the United States, and it orders the Department of Homeland Security to get such infrastructure into place by January 2021. It doesn't specifically define what the infrastructure should look like, and it doesn't appear to provide for its funding. (It does call for $33 billion to improve border surveillance.) The bill spends 60 pages authorizing a host of border patrol operations and functions.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would see a staff increase of 1,500 special agents, 500 of which would be assigned to the border. The number of ICE investigators would increase by 1,000. The bill offers a host of financial incentives and bonuses to hire and keep border patrol officers.
  • The bill's authors want to fund an increase of "not less than 50 percent per day" over the previous year in the number of prosecutions for illegal border crossings along the Mexican border, and they want to fund all the personnel needs that would entail. The legislation would provide federal grants to border states to assist local law enforcement agents if they help with border control and immigration enforcement.
  • The bill calls for a biometric data collecting system for any person entering and leaving the United States who is not a citizen, and for checking their identities against several databases. (The databases would cover not just suspected terrorists, but also everyone who is in the United States illegally, has violated the terms of their visas, or has overstayed their visas.) It calls for collecting DNA samples from any detained aliens that are subject to deportation.
  • The bill calls for the detention and removal of immigrants who are in the country illegally regardless of any involvement in any other crimes. It also authorizes Homeland Security to detain a deportable alien for removal if he has been tried for a crime, even if he hasn't been convicted. To make space for all these people, it funds an additional 10,000 beds in the federal detention system.
  • The bill denies federal grants to sanctuary cities. A rival bill introduced recently would cut Department of Justice grants to such cities. This bill goes much further and denies sanctuary cities grants unrelated to policing, such as public works grants and Community Development Block Grants. Such legislation could run afoul of the courts, which have ruled that the feds can't simply use grant funding as a bludgeon to mandate cooperation unless it's actually related to the subject of enforcement.
  • The bill also defines what a sanctuary city is, which matters if the bill passes. Sanctuary cities are conventionally known as cities that don't investigate the citizenship status of residents when they interact with officials or pass that information to ICE. Under this bill, the label would cover any city that refused to "comply" with a federal orderto detain an immigrant for deportation. Right now such "detainer orders" are legally just requests; the federal government cannot currently make cities or counties hold immigrants for them.
  • What on earth do new federal mandatory minimum sentences on people who assault or kill police officers have to do with all this immigration stuff? Nothing. Nevertheless, the bill folds in the "Back the Blue Act," which creates a host of new and completely unnecessary federal mandatory minimum sentences for anybody who kills or injures a police officer, a judge, or any local public safety officer whose agency receives any sort of federal funding. It calls for a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence for killing an officer, a 20-year minimum for assault with a deadly weapon, a 10-year minimum for assault with injuries, and a 10-year minimum for fleeing the scene. It details the possibility of the death penalty for anybody who kills a law enforcement or public safety officer.

The Hill, which also got a copy of the draft legislation, notes that Cornyn had previously supported federal legislation that actually reduced mandatory minimums and cranked back the war on drugs just a bit. Cornyn's response to The Hill was that he wasn't against all mandatory minimums.

But these new mandatory minimums are a political response to fears that are not really rooted in facts. The insistence by law enforcement interests and Trump himself that there's a "war on police" is simply untrue. To the extent that local police and public safety officers are targets of violence, states are fully capable of punishing such criminals thoroughly.

Similarly, there's very little evidence that immigrants—legal or illegal—are a pressing source of crime problems in the United States. In fact, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

These new mandatory minimums would accomplish two things: filling up federal prisons and eating up tax money. Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) calculated out the likely costs of both sets of new mandatory minimums, based on current trends. If every police assault with injuries resulted in a federal prison sentence, it would end up costing an additional $900 million per year to imprison just the people who would have been convicted in 2015. The mandatory minimums under Kate's Law would increase federal prison costs by $2.5 billion a year and would require more than two dozen new federal detention centers (costing more than $9 billion), based on current trends.

Trump may sell Kate's Law as a way of punishing "bad hombres," but Molly Gill, director of federal legislative affairs for FAMM, says there are any number of reasons why an immigrant might keep returning to the United States illegally that has nothing to do with committing crimes. Yet they'll still face harsh prison sentences.

"Someone might come back illegally to work, to attend a funeral, to donate an organ to a dying child, to flee war or religious persecution or a death threat, to see a sick or dying family member," Gill points out to Reason. "People do persistently come back illegally for totally benign reasons. This bill punishes them the same as a person who illegally reenters the country to commit a terrorist attack, recruit for a drug cartel, or join up with a street gang. Judges should have flexibility to tell the difference, but Kate's Law won't let them. It's going to lock up a lot of people who pose very little real threat to public safety."

Gill also doubts the idea that the law would serve as a deterrent.

"The possible threat of being caught and given a mandatory minimum sentence is unlikely to outweigh the benefits of fleeing from violence, providing for a family, or reuniting with loved ones," Gill says. "Kate's Law is a billion-dollar-a-year gamble that people coming here illegally will suddenly stop because of a mandatory sentence. Congress will lose that bet, and taxpayers will foot a big bill for it."

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  1. I disagree with all of this except the multiple deportation thing. You get deported there’s no excuse for getting caught sneaking back in again. I want unlimited legal immigration, but to pretend that borders don’t matter at all is BS. Why even have borders if everybody we kick out is just let right back in?

    1. Why even have borders

      right

    2. Mandatory minimums are terrible even if you think a crime deserves harsh punishment.

      1. This. Mandatory minimums are just the legal version of idiotic “zero tolerance” policies at schools. It violates the maxim of “let the punishment fit the crime”.

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do… http://www.webcash10.com

      2. By I disagree with all of this, I meant with the laws, not with the article. I agree with most of the article. I phrased it poorly. Mandatory minimums for anything are dumb.

    3. Replace “immigration” with “drugs.”

    4. I have figured out the difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Republicans want to cram more people into jails, and Democrats want to expand the number of people that feel like they are in jail.

      1. No, no, no. Republicans want to cram more people into the jails, and Democrats want to expand the jails to encompass more people.

        Day and night, homeslice.

        1. Republicans want to cram more people into the jails, and Democrats want to expand the jails create reeducation camps to encompass morethe right people.

          FTFY

  2. Scott Horton’s Law: Politicians can be counted on to keep all their bad promises, and abandon all their good ones.

  3. The 333-page “Building America’s Trust through Border and National Security Act of 2017

    Surely that’s a mistake–they put the word “Trust” where they obviously should have written “Police State”.

    1. 333? That’s the mark of the Semi-Christ. Kind of beware.

      1. It’s the Middle of Days! Prepare for Hemigeddon!

        1. “In the Middle Days, the armies of the semi-angel will meet the forces of the demilord of darkness. On the plains of Demiggido will they do battle in a grand rock, paper, scissors tournament.”
          -Nostradamus

          1. Hm. I’ve always heard this one translated as “a contest of stone, rag and shears”.

            1. I was going by the 4th King James edition.

      2. 333 is the number of Chronzon, the dweller on the threshold, which must be passed on your way to enlightenment. He is several levels after you have defeated Christ in hand-to-hand combat.

        1. Yeah, but is he before or after Mecha-Christ? I forget.

          1. Right after Mecha-Streissand, but before Cthulhu.

            1. Only Robert Smith can save us now.

  4. Thanks for the daily reminder the GOP may be worse than the Dems.
    the bill folds in the “Back the Blue Act,” which creates a host of new and completely unnecessary federal mandatory minimum sentences for anybody who kills or injures a police officer, a judge, or any local public safety officer whose agency receives any sort of federal funding. It calls for a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence for killing an officer, a 20-year minimum for assault with a deadly weapon, a 10-year minimum for assault with injuries, and a 10-year minimum for fleeing the scene. It details the possibility of the death penalty for anybody who kills a law enforcement or public safety officer.

    “Assault with injuries.”

    1. “We find that the defendant assaulted the safety officer’s hands with his face, injuring the officer by causing his knuckles to become bruised.”

    2. I’m not sure how the federal government is supposed to have jurisdiction for any of that. Unless it happens to occur right on a state line, or in DC, I guess.

      1. “We deposited 5 cents into this town’s police budget, therefore these cops are federal law enforcement now.”

    3. As if you ever doubted it. You voted for Hillary three times.

      1. Three times? Was there a beauty contest I missed or something?

      2. It was an honest mistake. He thought he was voting for the next American Idol.

        1. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Hillary sing. And you won’t after.

  5. 10 year minimum for fleeing the scene of what?

    I don’t understand why “back the blue” is a federal issue.

    I don’t have a problem deporting illegals who have been charged with a crime.

    I don’t have a problem running a biometric scan on foreigners crossing the border.

    It would seem more efficient to patrol the border with drones and IR cameras. Maybe with clusterbomb tasers!

    1. I don’t have a problem running a biometric scan on foreigners crossing the border.

      “I don’t have a problem violating the rights of people who aren’t me”

      1. Have you crossed a foreign border recently? Some other countries do the same thing.

        1. And some other countries stone women who have been raped.

          I’ve crossed a foreign border recently and it was far less obnoxious, intrusive and insulting than returning to the US as a citizen was.

          1. And some countries don’t allow to you free speech and arrest you if you say something they don’t like.

            I never have any trouble returning to the USA as a US citizen. They ask if I have anything to declare and maybe if my trip was business or pleasure. On my way.

            Italy spent 5 minutes looking at all the visas in my passport and asked questions about my travel. The had me wait while they called whomever. I was free to go after about 15 minutes.

            EU Visa Info Sys

            1. You are right, it’s not that bad returning to the US. I just get annoyed at the pointlessly redundant process of using the electronic customs declaration machines and the long lines that creates.

              I’m also pissed that I didn’t bring any Spanish Jamon Iberico back with me since no one checked my bags or asked me about it.

      2. Not all of the Constitution applies to foreigners. I have no problem with keeping track of people until they become citizens.

        1. None of the Constitution applies to foreigners, or citizens for that matter.

          1. It applies to the citizens who are in the government.

        2. The problem (or a problem) with keeping track of people is that it means the infrastructure has to be in place that would allow the government to track citizens in the same ways.

          I’m sure no one would ever abuse that, though.

        3. I have no problem with keeping track of people until they become citizens.

          Yeah, I’m sure they’ll delete all the biometric data they collected on naturalized citizens before they become citizens. And that they’ll only collect this data on foreigners crossing the border as opposed to collecting the data on everyone crossing the border, including citizens.

          “Well, you see, it’s easier to just collect data on everyone that way we’re not ‘profiling’ or anything. But we pinky swear not to use this data in any way that will violate what meager rights you still have left.”

        4. Natural rights are natural rights no matter what government is in charge or where or who you are. Period!!!

      3. Of what rights do you speak? The Bill of Rights does not apply to foreigners.

        1. 14th amendment:

          No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

          1. Silly Crusty. Furriners ain’t persons!

            1. When did I become the somewhat normal, somewhat knowledgeable commenter? What the frick?

              1. These are truly revolting times.

              2. I think you know when, Crusty. Seniority.

                1. Hey, i’ve been here on and off since 2008! Then again, i contribute almost nothing, so you may have a point.

                  1. I was talking about the chronological age of your body, at least as measured by certain biological markers.

                    1. Chinchilla bites?

          2. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

            Illegals, in case you’re unaware, ain’t citizens.

            1. nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

              You forgot to read the rest of the amendment, yo.

              1. It really isn’t that complicated.

              2. Personhood has to be earned, yo, by pledging loyalty to these here United States.

        2. Thank God for the Bill of Rights, else we would all be chattel of the state.

          1. How long before the Bill of Rights is interpreted as an invoice for past services?

        3. Not all of it, but the parts that act as restrictions on government action certainly do, at least within the territory of the US.

        4. The Bill of Rights applies to all people within the United States. It makes no mention of citizenship.

        5. The existence of the Bill of Rights, along with the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence, is that all humans have rights.

          Otherwise, the Founding Fathers did not have the right to rebel against their king.

          Jefferson was reluctant to have a Bill of Rights exactly because people would interpret them as rights created by the government for the citizens as opposed to human rights protected by government.

          1. insert “predicated on the fact that” in between “is” and “that”

          2. Franklin was also right in the fact that if there was not some sort of safe guard like the BOR that government would claim we have no rights.

            Sadly, they both were right when one looks at history. The arguments of the BOR and first bank of American is great history read on what the government is supposed to me and not supposed to be.

    2. I don’t understand why “back the blue” is a federal issue.

      It’s not. Fascism sells well with a certain subsection of the GOP base; that is the only reason this bill exists.

    3. The police state cannot operate without the cooperation of police. So, Congress is adding police-friendly riders to the bill to keep the badges happy.

      I have this suspicion that police are not really happy about being used mainly for tracking down and arresting illegals. For many police, it is probably equivalent to traffic control duty. Cops like SWAT duties and other roles that get them extra money and that famous adrenaline rush.

      1. I have this suspicion that police are not really happy about being used mainly for tracking down and arresting illegals.

        Based upon what?

        For many police, it is probably equivalent to traffic control duty. Cops like SWAT duties and other roles that get them extra money and that famous adrenaline rush.

        Have you seen what many police officers look like? At least half – and probably more than half – are slovenly, overweight people who look as though if they would rather be napping.

        1. “Based upon what?”

          Speaking for myself anyway, I would imagine that at least some cops got into the profession because they want to put actual criminals behind bars. Rousting a harmless abuela out of bed and throwing her in jail isn’t exactly like arresting some violent rapist.

          But sure I imagine there are also those cops who are totally “the law’s the law!” and take great pleasure for arresting anyone breaking even the most trifling law. I don’t know what the mix of the two populations are though. Oh, and throw in just the dirty cops as well.

          1. Rousting a harmless abuela out of bed and throwing her in jail isn’t exactly like arresting some violent rapist.

            It is if they believe what Trump tells them.

            1. That she is an illegal? I guess Trump was right- illegals violate federal law.

              1. That she is a rapist. After all, they’re not sending their best abuelas.

                1. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
                  ? Donald Trump, announcement speech, June 2015
                  “One of my first acts will be to get all of the drug lords, all of the bad ones ? we have some bad, bad people in this country that have to go out. We’re going to get them out. We’re going to secure the border. And once the border is secured, at a later date, we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.”
                  ? Donald Trump, third and final presidential debate, Wednesday

                  Some are good people. Some are rapists and drug lords. All illegals are criminals.

                  1. Yeah, but who isn’t a criminal nowadays? We all probably break several federal laws every day without having any idea.

            2. Hey, if the abuela is strong enough to strap on a strap-on, she is strong enough to thrust it into an American citizen, and is a threat that must be mamaged.

              1. I have been mamaged now that you mention it.

          2. Rousting a harmless abuela out of bed and throwing her in jail isn’t exactly like arresting some violent rapist.

            But it gives them almost the same authority boner without actually risking a confrontation with a real violent criminal, so most prefer it this way.

        2. In my opinion, you can tell there has been a shift in police fighting for more power and money.

          Their unions are trying to scare people into expanding rather than cutting police budgets. Sex-human trafficking is one example where police are hyping it for expanded power and budgets. Police fighting civil forfeiture is another example.

          I agree that many police are out of shape but that does not mean that they do not want “cool” jobs.

  6. Scott, the bill seems to focus on deportations of illegals, better tracking and vetting of persons seeking temp visas and prosecuting violent crimes rather than non-violent crimes.

    I support this government role but thing a few riders should be excluded from the bill. This government role is pretty much exactly what Trump campaigned on and is popular outside the cosmo circles.

    1. Other things “popular outside cosmo circles” (not comprehensive):

      NASCAR
      Miller Lite
      Assaulting reporters
      Covfefe
      Sean Hannity

      I rest my case

      1. Only “real Muricans” drink cheap swill and like to watch cars drive in circles for 3 hours, amirite?

      2. And Seth Rich, and Pizzagate, and birth certificates, and a healthy respect for the boys in blue.

      3. Other things “popular outside cosmo circles” (not comprehensive):

        not lying
        not supporting Hillary’s violation of federal law
        not assaulting reporters
        Reason
        supporting school choice
        wanting the swamp drained
        against corruption in cosmo circles
        hoping Biden runs in 2020, so Trump can defeat him too

        I rest my case

  7. Thank heavens those small-government Republicans are in charge!

  8. If a law has a first name, that’s a bad sign.

    If a law has the first name of a dead little girl, that’s a worse sign.

    1. And if the law has a name of a children’s doll, run for your lives.

  9. The Hill, which also got a copy of the draft legislation, notes that Cornyn had previously supported federal legislation that actually reduced mandatory minimums and cranked back the war on drugs just a bit. Cornyn’s response to The Hill was that he wasn’t against all mandatory minimums.

    And besides, if we cut back on mandatory minimums for drugs, we’ve got to do something to keep the prisons full and the police and prison guard unions happy. /sarc

    Shitheads like Cornyn make me ashamed to admit to being from Texas.

      1. Yes, you also make me ashamed to admit to being from Texas…

        1. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the perfect troll.

          1. Or any chance to talk about yourself.

            1. Why do we hate this guy again? I forget.

              1. Some people just need hatin’.

                1. Aw, thanks, man, that means a lot.

  10. The bill calls for a biometric data collecting system for any person entering and leaving the United States who is not a citizen, and for checking their identities against several databases. (The databases would cover not just suspected terrorists, but also everyone who is in the United States illegally, has violated the terms of their visas, or has overstayed their visas.) It calls for collecting DNA samples from any detained aliens that are subject to deportation.

    Or – and hear me out – we tattoo a number on the wrist of everyone who wants to enter or leave the United States. If you try to cover up or remove your tattoo, you receive a ten-year prison sentence.

    1. It is creepy, isn’t it?

      So the government is going to collect all of this info on foreigners. Okay, fine. Then suppose some of the foreigners become naturalized citizens. Is the government going to just destroy all of that info on the new citizens?

    2. Or – and hear me out – we tattoo a number on the wrist of everyone who wants to enter or leave the United States.

      UNSCANNABLE!

    3. So the government is going to collect all of this info on foreigners. Okay, fine. Then suppose some of the foreigners become naturalized citizens. Is the government going to just destroy all of that info on the new citizens?

      The US government requires photos and a set of fingerprints as part of naturalization. These are permanently stored.

      The US government also requires a photo and fingerprints for getting a US passport.

      In fact, most OECD countries require photos and fingerprints for getting passports; it’s mandatory for Schengen member countries. It’s part of the biometric passport. The information is usually stored in government databases and digitally in the passport.

      The US has been collecting fingerprints and photos from visitors at airports for probably a decade. So have Japan and other nations. Visa-free travel to the US has required a biometric passport since Obama.

      The DNA of innocent Americans has been collected and stored in databases for years; if you tolerate that for innocent US citizens, why would you object to it for deportable aliens?

      Seriously, people, before you talk politics learn something about how the real world works. You are making fools of yourself.

      1. if you tolerate that for innocent US citizens

        I don’t.

        1. Well, obviously you do. Because if you didn’t, your complaint wouldn’t be “don’t DNA fingerprint the illegals” but “don’t DNA fingerprint people”.

      2. The US government also requires a photo and fingerprints for getting a US passport.

        Uh, your friend at the DoS office may have been pranking you.

      3. I just renewed my passport for a trip this month, and was not required to provide fingerprints. Nor was I required to provide them when I applied for my first Passport.

        1. You’re right, you don’t actually have to yet as a natural-born citizen. As a naturalized citizen, you do.

          You also have to give your fingerprint for your driver’s license in California, Texas, and a couple of other states (and that’s usually also linked to your passport application).

          The US passport already has the provisions for storing fingerprints, and other countries may start requiring it.

          Visa applicants and visitors to many other countries have to provide fingerprints. And within the Schengen area, all passport holders provide fingerprints.

          My point is that the idea that requiring photos and fingerprints of visitors and/or citizens is commonplace in many “advanced nations” and has been long accepted in the US as well. Getting all pushed out of shape about it now seems silly.

      4. So your argument is, that our current government isn’t statist enough for your liking?

        1. I’m just pointing out that your complaint about “othering non-citizens” is bullshit.

          If you want to have a principled debate about whether, when, and how biometric identifiers should be used in daily life, you’re welcome to have that, but that has nothing to do with immigration, legal or otherwise.

  11. I guess the biggest part I am having a problem with, in the entire approach of this bill, is how non-citizens are completely otherized in their treatment. Non-citizens don’t have the citizen label but they are human beings as well who deserve to be treated justly, humanely and with due respect. The government’s mass surveillance of citizens is wrong not just because it’s illegal, but because it is insulting to all of us that the government has any business prying into our personal affairs. What business does the government have to pry into the personal affairs of non-citizens *that wouldn’t also be equally applicable to citizens*? “Maybe the non-citizen is a terrorist!” Sure, but then what about the citizen who might be a terrorist? If it’s okay to collect mass intel on non-citizens because they might be terrorists, then is it okay to collect mass intel on citizens because they might be terrorists? Requiring every single foreign visitor to put their personal information into a government database, “just in case”, is just as insulting as if the government had required every citizen to do the same, and just as wrong.

    1. If this was broken into paragraphs I would endorse it heartily.

      1. Well, it was rather much a stream-of-consciousness expression. I will do better in the future.

        1. I prefer your streams of consciousness to some of the others I’ve seen in these parts. Using the word ‘consciousness’ might be a bit generous, actually.

        2. Chemjeff, your stream of consciousness is like a crisp pristine mountain brook, after wading through seewage runoff and dried river beds.

          1. Well, yes, as long as you ignore the fact that his self-righteous indignation comes from a position of complete ignorance.

    2. What business does the government have to pry into the personal affairs of non-citizens *that wouldn’t also be equally applicable to citizens*? “Maybe the non-citizen is a terrorist!” Sure, but then what about the citizen who might be a terrorist? If it’s okay to collect mass intel on non-citizens because they might be terrorists, then is it okay to collect mass intel on citizens because they might be terrorists?

      I will not be shocked in the least bit when it turns out that citizen’s biometric data also ends up being collected when they cross the border*. At which point we’ll be lectured by the law and order types about how “citizens could be terrorists too, and besides, if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.”

      When that day comes, I’ll be hard pressed to not say I told you so to any of the lickspittles who support this bullshit just because they think it will only be used against foreigners non-persons.

      *assuming this bill passes, which it most likely will.

      1. “I will not be shocked in the least bit when it turns out that citizen’s biometric data also ends up being collected when they cross the border*.”

        Well OF COURSE it will. And it will be defended by the same usual suspects – “well what if citizens consorted with terrorists while abroad, and the government just hasn’t discovered the links yet? Shouldn’t we have a database of info to call upon?”

        1. Well OF COURSE it will. And it will be defended by the same usual suspects

          It already is collected: you need to give fingerprints and a picture to get a US passport. Nor is this specific to the US: the biometric passport was created a couple of decades ago, and many nations, including pretty much all OECD members have it.

          Your outrage over the supposed “othering” of “non-citizens” is rooted in utter and complete ignorance. Why don’t you learn something about the world around you before you presume to speak about issues of security, privacy, and international travel?

            1. That is what I recall too. I did not have to get fingerprinted for my passport. I only had to provide a copy of my birth certificate, and passport photos, and pay the fees.

            2. You’re right, I made a mistake: as a natural-born citizen you don’t. As a naturalized citizen you do.

              You can be pretty certain that that’s going to change: all US citizens will likely have to give fingerprints to get a passport; the passport already has the necessary biometric ID chip. Why not? It’s the law in most other OECD countries. And you have to give prints for driver’s licenses in California, Texas, and a couple of other states.

    3. is how non-citizens are completely otherized in their treatment.

      They are not “otherized” at all. US citizens leaving the country need to get a passport, which requires fingerprinting and getting your photo taken. Requiring this information from non-citizens entering the country just means that they at least have to meet the same minimum requirements that US citizens have to meet when we travel internationally.

      If it’s okay to collect mass intel on non-citizens because they might be terrorists

      As a US citizen, the government has your banking information, your medical information, your employment history, your demographic information, your places of residence, your place of birth, your family relations and tons more. If you want equal treatment for non-citizens, they would have to provide a lot more information than they do right now, not less.

      1. See there you go. You are using the mass collection of data on citizens to justify doing the same to non-citizens. How about this instead: Government shouldn’t be mass collecting data on anyone? You’re starting from a statist premise and trying to extend it to everyone. I’m starting from the reverse.

        1. You are using the mass collection of data on citizens to justify doing the same to non-citizens.

          You bet I do.

          How about this instead: Government shouldn’t be mass collecting data on anyone? You’re starting from a statist premise and trying to extend it to everyone. I’m starting from the reverse.

          No, you are not. If you were, you wouldn’t be talking about “otherizing”. You’re just a hypocrite who is backpedaling on his hypocritical position.

          Furthermore, I strongly disagree with the idea that “Government shouldn’t be mass collecting data on anyone”. There is good data collection and there is bad data collection. Being able to prove with my fingerprint that I am a US citizen is the good kind of data collection as far as I’m concerned.

          1. Wait, I thought he was an ignoramus who didn’t know what he was talking about. But he’s also a hypocrite for not complaining about increasing biometric data requirements for citizens, the very thing you said he was ignorant about…

    4. Citizens aren’t exactly treated fairly, either.

  12. Wow, what a disgusting mess! I guess the Republicans forgot that they wanted to cut spending and decrease regulation.

    1. They forgot that they SAID they wanted to do that, anyway.

      1. Oh no, they remember saying it, they just didn’t mean a word of it.

      2. When Republicans say “cut spending,” what they mean and what they assume is understood, is “cut spending for programs that benefit people that vote Democratic.”

        1. When Republicans say “cut spending,” what they mean and what they assume is understood, is “cut spending for programs that benefit people that vote Democratic.

          “…and aren’t called Medicare or Social Security”. All talk of spending cuts that leave out long-term entitlement are pointless theater.

        2. No, that’s not really fair. After all national defense benefits Democrats, and as we all know, Republicans are all about spending more money on national defense.

          I think a better way to put it is that Republicans don’t want to spend money on whom they perceive to be “moochers”. To people who don’t “deserve” government handouts according to their subjective determination of merit. So for instance they are totally fine with socialized medicine for veterans, because they’re veterans and they have earned it. But they oppose socialized medicine for everyone, not because they hate socialized medicine (they don’t), but because the benefits would go to moochers and layabouts and illegals (who are equivalent to moochers in their view).

          1. The subject of this article is that Republicans want to put as many brown people and anyone who sniffs at a copy in jail as possible. Putting someone in jail and paying for their housing, meals, guards etc. is more expensive then providing them with insurance. I think suspect there
            are Republicans with lots of stock in the private prison industry.

  13. Again, if you’re here and you’re not a citizen, then you’re a GUEST here.

    Act like an asshole and we should be tossing you out.

    In the middle of the desert.

    With no water.

    Because FYTW.

  14. It creates a new mandatory minimum sentences for illegal immigrants who commit crimes. An illegal alien who commits any drug trafficking or violent crime gets a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

    Given recent court decisions, it’s obvious that judges need to be compelled to act against illegals, since judicial discretion seems to keep erring in favor of illegals. So, I have no problem with this.

    1. I have no problem with this.

      This is how we are going to win the war on drugs!

      1. I don’t care about the “war on drugs”, I think it’s a waste of money. Whether you take or don’t take drugs is your own business.

        But illegal immigration is not victimless because it imposes high costs on other people, at least under the current system. That’s why illegal immigration should be punished, at least in the cases where illegal immigrants clearly hurt others.

        1. But illegal immigration is not victimless because it imposes high costs on other people

          This bill would impose a huge financial cost on the taxpayer.

          That’s why illegal immigration should be punished, at least in the cases where illegal immigrants clearly hurt others.

          Is that not happening now, or are illegal immigrants hurting others and receiving lenient sentences from judges so frequently that the only possible solution is for Congress to implement draconian mandatory minimums?

          1. This bill would impose a huge financial cost on the taxpayer.

            That’s like saying “look, you’re spending a lot of money on your home security system, why don’t you just give that money to the burglars and maybe they won’t break in”.

            or are illegal immigrants hurting others

            Illegal immigrants are hurting us by there mere presence. And obviously, it is something that judges tolerate. In fact, court decisions say that Americans are required to provide at least some public services to people illegally in the country.

        2. The irony seems to be lost on you.

          Most of the current “mandatory minimums” that we have now were inspired by politicians attempting to “get tough” on the War on Drugs.

          And *by your own logic* I can also argue that taking drugs also imposes high costs on other people, at least under the current system. After all, if I’m a stoner who sits around all day and collects welfare checks, isn’t that a cost to you? Isn’t that a justification in your world to lock me up because I’m “harming” you?

          1. And *by your own logic* I can also argue that taking drugs also imposes high costs on other people, at least under the current system.

            Yes, but there’s a big difference between taking drugs and illegal immigration: people take drugs because they are addicted, an economically irrational choice. Illegal immigration, on the other hand, is something people do for economic reasons or to be with family, and lengthy incarceration pretty much negates those motivations. That’s why I would expect incarceration to be a much more effective deterrent for illegal immigration than for drug use.

            After all, if I’m a stoner who sits around all day and collects welfare checks, isn’t that a cost to you? Isn’t that a justification in your world to lock me up because I’m “harming” you?

            We tend not to lock people up for drug use. In any case, I think you’re generally “justified” in locking up people for breaking the law, even if I disagree with the law. I just happen to think that locking up illegal immigrants is likely to be more effective than locking up drug addicts would be even if we locked up drug addicts.

            1. people take drugs because they are addicted, an economically irrational choice.

              You sound fun.

            2. “Yes, but there’s a big difference between taking drugs and illegal immigration: people take drugs because they are addicted, an economically irrational choice…”

              People make economically irrational choices all the time. And it’s clear that drug use isn’t always irrational and isn’t always because of addiction. Some people just enjoy it.

              Nancy Reagan notwithstanding.

              1. Whatever. My point is that illegal immigration and drug addiction are different, and therefore it is invalid to conclude that the failed drug war implies that immigration enforcement needs to fail too.

  15. As an old-time lawman once said: He just needed killin’!
    Well, some people just need to be locked up, and a small subset need to be locked up forever.

  16. Gotta find some new criminals, what with so many states legalizing MJ these days.
    Hence the fear mongering about human trafficking.

    1. Indeed. They like to attach names to bills (“Kate’s Law”) in order to hide behind victims of crime and buy political security through appealing to hysteria. “Human trafficking” is the latest to be blown out of proportion.

  17. How about implementing a minimum that would fix the illegal immigration problem – mandatory jail time for anyone hiring an illegal alien?

  18. It is only a surprise that US government has not started harvesting organs of the prisoners. May be they are already doing it and we dont know.

  19. So in other words, a transfer of wealth via the state to prison companies, etc.

    They’ve hit 2 birds with one stone: electoral security by playing to public hysteria, and funneling public money into the prison industry.

  20. From what I’ve read so far I have absolutely no problem with this bill. I don’t know how many times this author thinks illegals should be deported until there are real consequences other than the “Oh, you got us again, off you go!” response. What an idiot.

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