The Feds are prosecuting illegal immigrants who pay smugglers to bring other illegals into the country.
While the Feds aren’t prosecuting illegal immigrants simply for being illegal, they are going after the ones committing crimes. Now we learn from the Washington Times that one of the crimes they are prioritizing is bringing in other illegal aliens. While there has been discusion of legal loopholes allowing “anchor immigration,” there is also illegal immigration that is drawn here by previous illegal immigrants. That needs to be stopped.
The Washington Times reports, “Feds prosecuting illegal immigrants for enticing relatives to U.S.”
An illegal immigrant from Guatemala was sentenced to seven months in jail late last month for paying human smugglers to bring his 16-year-old brother-in-law into the U.S., in what officials say is one of the first cases to punish a relative for enticing a family member to make the dangerous trek north.
Miguel Pacheco-Lopez admitted he paid $6,100 to “coyotes,” as the smugglers are called, to bring his wife’s brother into the U.S. last year. He expected the teen — identified in court documents by the initials S.M. — to pay the majority of the money back at 8 percent interest.
The prosecution was part of a groundbreaking strategy to try to slow the stream of unaccompanied alien children by going after the people they are trying to join in the U.S.
“This criminal jeopardized his own family members by paying human smugglers,” said James C. Spero, special agent in charge at the Tampa office of homeland security investigations. “He endangered a child’s life with a dangerous and unlawful journey into the United States, and now he will be held accountable.”
Pursuing people who are paying to have their family members smuggled to the U.S. has always been among the trickiest parts of the immigration debate.
Immigrant rights activists say they are often trying to help relatives escape terrible conditions back home and should be viewed as part of a humanitarian mission.
But analysts who have pushed for stiffer policies toward illegal immigration cheered the conviction and sentencing.
“It’s long overdue, and it’s something that they have to do to deter people from paying smugglers,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “It’s dangerous for the kids, not to mention that it enriches a criminal enterprise.”
She said the courts have tied the administration’s hands on many other areas of enforcement, such as the ability to detain and quickly deport illegal immigrant children, so some other deterrent was needed.
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