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This Congresswoman Thinks First-Time Illegal Border Crossing Should Be a Felony

Rep. Diane Black has proposed legislation reclassifying the offense.

ADREES LATIF/REUTERS/NewscomADREES LATIF/REUTERS/NewscomWhen it comes to crossing the border illegally, first-time offenders can currently be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to six months in prison. But the Zero Tolerance for Illegal Entry Act, introduced today by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), would make the offense a felony, punishable by up to a year and day behind bars.

"What this bill does is it sets up a huge disincentive," Black tells the Washington Examiner. "There is already a process set up and they should be using what the process is." Black is currently running for governor.

Black's bill could cost taxpayers billions of dollars. In the 2017 fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 415,000 people crossing the Southwest border illegally, according to the agency's website. The Bureau of Prisons says incarcerating the average federal inmate in 2017 cost more than $36,000.

Using those figures, it would cost more than $14.9 billion for the government to imprison every immigrant caught crossing the border illegally for one year. Even if Black's legislation cuts the number of people apprehended in half, taxpayers would still be left footing a hefty bill.

In addition to changing the penalty for entering the U.S. illegally, Black's legislation would take away federal funding from sanctuary cities that don't cooperate with federal border agents and redirect the money to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Photo Credit: ADREES LATIF/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Black's legislation would take away federal funding from sanctuary cities that don't cooperate with federal border agents and redirect the money to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    So, I can argue for or against this. I just wish we had some way of forcing all bills to be some minimum coverage each, instead of grouping together many things into one bill. I just don't know how one would determine what is a single thing for any given bill.

  • Agammamon||

    I don't think you can really argue for it.

    You can certainly say they should cooperate, but they have no duty to do so - something this Rep seems to forget. They certainly can't get in the way, but cooperation shouldn't be required here. Because if its required *here*, then you open the door to requiring it everywhere else - such as drug law enforcement. Human 'trafficking'. IP enforcement.

    Its a big can of worms. Especially when, right now, we have dual sovereignty. Requiring cooperation effectively turns our law enforcement structure into a single, unified on a national level, organization. So you'd have to eliminate dual sovereignty and effectively make all crimes Federal crimes.

  • CE||

    French joggers in Canada hardest hit.

  • ||

    lol.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    What's not to like?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Someone's firmly in the pocket of the prison industrial complex.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Hey now, no need to cast aspersions on her motives. Maybe she's just trying to prove how tough she is on poor people who come to America looking for a job. Or simpler yet, maybe she's just an awful person.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, if she isn't getting her palm greased by the prison unions, she's an idiot.

  • perlchpr||

    Does not necessarily follow.

    A.) The crime equivalent to "illegal entry" is already a felony in Mexico, so we'd be in good company.

    B.) It effectively counters the idiots who say "Well, 'illegal entry' is just a misdemeanor, so we shouldn't bother to prosecute it at all!"

    C.) Just because the law defines something as a felony, and allows for the possibility of a "year and a day" sentence, does not require that it be imposed. It can be charged, and convicted, and the punishment set to "deportation with a felony record".

  • Agammamon||

    1. No its isn't.

    2. Eh, OK, I'll accept this point.

    3. What does this achieve though? Either they're going to get deported - and that comes with a 'don't even try to come back legally for 5+ years' sticker - or we're going to pay to have them locked up for a year. And then deport them with that sticker. And then they'll try again next year.

  • JFree||

    The felony conviction means that they can never get a green card in future.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Or at any rate, at least never until there's a Democratic President again.

    I'd favor it, if that were included in the bill: First offense, the penalty is deportation, second offense, hard time.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "It can be charged, and convicted, and the punishment set to "deportation with a felony record"."

    This. Establishing a criminal, and felony, record triggers lots of legal consequences.

  • Brandybuck||

    Wingtard: "Immigrants are dangerous criminals!"

    Me: "It's not even felony to cross the border, get a grip."

    Wingtard: "Make immigration a felony! Then the immigrants will be dangerous criminals!"

    I bet these people are the same ones who want to punish jaywalking with a perp walk and a night in jail, and not trimming your hedges punishable by tar and feathering and running out of the gated community on rails.

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed||

    Wingtard: "Immigrants are dangerous criminals!"

    Me: "It's not even felony to cross the border, get a grip."

    So, your point is you respond to dumb claims with non-sequiturs?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Jaywalking is the same as illegally entering the USA.

    Same same.

  • Agammamon||

    Pretty much. I've illegally entered the US at least once. Accidentally crossed the line while out riding in the desert. Didn't see the half buried markers until coming back. Are we going to freak out because I didn't turn myself in? Because I didn't commit another crime (its illegal to leave the US except at an official border crossing) by heading back across and then traveling 10 miles over to the actual border crossing?

    Entering the country illegally is . . . meh. Its what you do once you're here that's important.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    First, you need to get consent EVERY time you enter the US. Second, the US can change it's mind and revoke consent at any time. Even if you haven't finished.

    So definitely a felony.

    #theUStoo

  • Mark22||

    I'm an immigrant. Someone who walks across the Mexican-American border illegally isn't an "immigrant", they are an illegal migrant.

    And those illegal migrants cost US tax payers tens of thousands of dollars per year; theft of that magnitude ought to be considered a serious crime.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Felony is too extreme but keep illegal entry a misdemeanor.

    The government should enforce aiding and abetting laws too.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Sanctuary cities are illegal
    The officials responsible should be prosecuted
    8 U.S. Code § 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens http://bit.ly/2ErBBNQ

    8 U.S. Code § 1324
    (a) Criminal penalties
    (1)
    (A) Any person who—
    (iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place

  • josh||

    Except that's not really what a sanctuary city is. They're not hiding these people in safe houses. They just refuse to do the feds job for them.

  • Mindscape||

    Crossing the border illegally is just the first crime. From there, they need to find work (illegally), most likely steal someone's SSN, drive illegally (except in Commiefornia) without insurance, vote (again, in CA and maybe Boston now), and that's just the start. This law wouldn't affect any legitimate asylum seekers, legal entries or even those overstaying a visa. It's a totally avoidable crime and the fact that you get TWO misdemeanors before the third attempt is a felony is a joke.

  • Harvard||

    So how else are we going to save Mexicans from....... uh........Mexico?

  • The_Hoser||

    Annexation, baby!

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Jesus H. Christ on a unicycle, make it an intergalactic spacetime violation, just require enforcement of the fucking law!

    Does ANYONE not get that the gaping maw of prosecutorial discretion just hands more power to the Executive and makes this an ever-bigger poo-flinging contest by the day?

    Tweaking the law is fucking POINTLESS, and has been for the last five or so years that this has been stirred up as an A-list hot-button issue, until the issue of enforcement is addressed. Which no one at the federal level wants to do, because it would limit their power, and no one engaged in the poo flinging is talking about.

  • Agammamon||

    I guess we have to do something to keep those prisons filled now that drug legalization seems to be on its way in.

  • Longtobefree||

    War has been declared against the USA.
    The only legal entry to the USA is at controlled border crossing points.
    Spies (someone not in military uniform) can be summarily executed under the Geneva convention.

    Wouldn't it be simpler to just raise legal immigration limits by a factor of four or five?
    Maybe grant citizenship to any illegal who turns in five others for deportation?

  • Harvard||

    Or, what the hell, build a wall.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Maybe grant citizenship to any illegal who turns in five others for deportation?"

    Or brings in authenticated scalps.

  • ||

    Um, just because illegals are charged with a misdemeanor does not mean they can't be charged with a felony. Existing federal laws allow for felony charges at the prosecutor's discretion, simply for illegally crossing the border the first time.

    Federal court doctrine defines any prison sentence over one year to be a felony sentence, and the maximum penalty for a first offense illegal border crossing is 2 years in prison.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1325

  • Longtobefree||

    And there is always conspiracy - - - - - -

  • Mark22||

    That specifies a maximum of 6 months for the first offense, not two years.

    Her legislation would probably just make it uniformly two years, at the prosecutor's discretion.

  • agen bola terpercaya||

    it would cost more than $14.9 billion for the government, whats mean?
    agen sbobet

  • Benitacanova||

    I agree with this plan. Medical experiments for the lot of you.

  • damikesc||

    In addition to changing the penalty for entering the U.S. illegally, Black's legislation would take away federal funding from sanctuary cities that don't cooperate with federal border agents and redirect the money to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Is "yay" too strong?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Not for authoritarian, intolerant, right-wing kooks.

    I'll sign you up for an extra helping of the big-government goobery.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I ate a box of Goobers yesterday on your honor Arty.

  • Mark22||

    Foaming at the mouth opposition from socialists like you is a ringing endorsement.

  • Thor||

    Let's also permanently bar them from legal entry for the rest of their lives.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Bingo

    Targeted consequences
    If you have to be deported once, you're never eligible to return again

  • Longtobefree||

    Until tomorrow

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    This Congresswoman Thinks First-Time Illegal Border Crossing Should Be a Felony

    This libertarian thinks being a stale, backward, superstitious, bigoted, authoritarian, mean-spirited, gullible, drawling right-wing goober from our southern backwaters should be at least a misdemeanor.

  • Mark22||

    This libertariansocialist thinks being a stale, backward, superstitious, bigoted, authoritarian, mean-spirited, gullible, drawling right-wing gooberleft wing asshole, as he is, makes him the greatest person on earth.

    FTFY

  • josh||

    Like the article says....she is running for governor.

  • Mark22||

    Black's bill could costsave taxpayers billions of dollars.

    FTFY

  • Deplorable Victor||

    It whould be a death penalty crime. Death by machine gun at the border. Send in the army.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Errata: Should, not "whould."

  • B Wilds||

    The debate of what people "deserve" and whether those who have it should share is not new. Whether a person has landed in a place of plenty by luck or worked their way in by cunning or toil it is something to be valued. Borders are a creation of man and men set the rules as to who crosses them and on what terms. While it may seem unfair to exclude or deny individuals this right we must remember that life is unfair and this is a reality of life. More on an immigrant's right to enter a world of plenty in the article below.

    http://brucewilds.blogspot.com.....lenty.html

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