Thursday, May 18, 2006


Here's a novel concept for the federal government: prosecute those who are endangering the lives of thousands of people smuggled through the border.

Border Patrol guards did a great job but only 6% of smugglers were prosecuted in 2004

Border patrol agents need to be better respected. They are doing the dirty work, in the trenches, and are arresting dangerous criminals who are smuggling people across the border. However, they see the fruits of their labor are spoiled by the government's refusal to prosecute the bad guys.

The vast majority of people caught smuggling immigrants across the border near San Diego are never prosecuted for the offense, demoralizing the Border Patrol agents making the arrests, according to an internal document obtained by The Associated Press.

"It is very difficult to keep agents' morale up when the laws they were told to uphold are being watered-down or not prosecuted," the report says.
Only 6 percent of 289 suspected immigrant smugglers were prosecuted by the federal government for that offense in the year ending in September 2004, according to the report. Some were instead prosecuted for another crime. Other cases were declined by federal prosecutors, or the suspect was released by the Border Patrol. (emphasis, mine)
The 41-page report says federal prosecutors in San Diego typically prosecute smugglers who commit "dangerous/violent activity" or guide at least 12 illegal immigrants across the border. But other smugglers know they are only going to get "slapped on the wrist," according to the report.

The report cites a 19-year-old U.S. citizen caught three times in a two-week period in 2004 trying to sneak people from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego in his car trunk, two at a time.

"This is an example of a kid who knows the system," the report says. "What is true is that he will probably never be prosecuted if he only smuggles only one or two bodies at a time."

The report also cites a Mexican citizen who was caught in Arizona and California driving with illegal immigrants and was released each time to Mexico. He was prosecuted the fourth time, when two illegal immigrants in his van died in a crash, and sentenced to five years in prison.

It looks like one of the most lucrative, low-risk jobs in America is to be a border smuggler. High profit margins, low chances of criminal prosecution and a federal government that implicitly allows the deaths of hundreds of poorly treated people.

Illegal aliens have been led to their deaths by smugglers, the Mexican government and American government for various reasons ranging from pure greed to negligence.

Border guards are doing their jobs. Too bad Congress and several presidents haven't done their part to protect the border.

AP: Many Immigrant Smugglers Not Prosecuted - Yahoo! News


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