Biden Scraps Repeat Offender Law at the Border
In its latest subversion of immigration law, the Biden administration is putting removed aliens on a fast track to legal status.
Federal law requires ousted illegal immigrants to wait outside the country for up to 10 years before they can apply for entry. But now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers previous removals irrelevant, and is expediting their admission.
Lax enforcement at America’s southern border has invited more migrants to make repeated attempts to re-enter this country. And, sure enough, they keep coming. Recidivism rates – the percentage of individuals apprehended more than one time by Border Patrol – soared in 2020 and 2021 to 26 percent and 27 percent respectively. That compares with just 7 percent in 2019.
Under Section 275 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), one illegal entry would trigger misdemeanor prosecution (up to six months in prison). A second entry is a felony, carrying a sentence of up to two years.
Prosecutions of entry-related offenses hit an all-time high of 106,302 in 2019. But the Center for Immigration Studies found that only 963 migrants were charged between February 2021 and March 2022 – a period when illegal entries were rising to record levels.
Instead of prosecuting repeat offenders under existing law, Team Biden is changing it. This goes along with a wholesale abuse of the “parole” process to release large numbers of migrants, including criminal aliens, into the country.
“Prosecution would deter recidivists, but deterrence isn’t Biden administration policy,” observes CIS policy analyst Andrew Arthur.
Attempting to justify the abrogation of law, Biden’s lawyers note that aliens expelled under the Title 42 health order were not removed under the INA, and therefore not subject to prosecution for re-entry.
That bit of lawyerly evasion is a distinction without a difference. Emilio Gonzalez, who ran USCIS under George W. Bush, likens Biden’s extra-legal gambit to “don’t ask, don’t tell. We won’t ask you where you’ve been during your inadmissible period, and you don’t tell us. It’s sheer craziness.”