A criminal? Who me? I’m a victim!
On its face, the concept of advocating on behalf of illegal aliens breaking into our country is bizarre. The United States has a generous, legal route to attain citizenship. Although the issue is routinely mischaracterized in the local press as cracking down on “immigrants,” there is a vast difference between those who enter legally and others who break in. Think of it as opening your door to welcome guests as opposed to having the door broken in and your home invaded.
Yet illicit entry is exactly what is being defended by Hispanic advocacy groups, deceptively calling themselves “immigrant rights advocates.”
The issue is Arizona’s 2005 law banning human smuggling, which specifies that illegals who pay coyotes to transport them into the United States can be criminally charged as co-conspirators. The going rate paid to enter varies between $2,000 – $6,000 per illegal.
Back in July 2008, we wrote that the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of an illegal alien prosecuted as a co-conspirator under the state’s human-smuggling law. The court found the law’s wording to be clear and unambiguous — illegals can be convicted for conspiracy to smuggle themselves into the country. Read the Court’s opinion here affirming the appellant’s previous conviction and sentence in Superior Court.
Seventy-five percent of those charged under the smuggling statute in Maricopa County since its 2008 imposition have been charged with conspiring to sneak themselves into the country.
Now illegal advocates are threatening to bring a lawsuit seeking to bar such conspiracy prosecutions. Advocates for illegals are seeking class-action status that would let any person charged with conspiracy under the smuggling law join in the case.
In the meantime, for assistance in reading between the lines, we direct you to our popular post, Lingo.