Commonsense Legislation Introduced to Crack Down on Illegal Alien Crime
By Heather Ham-Warren | April 19, 2018
This week, Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced FAIR-supported legislation to impose tougher punishments for crimes committed after illegal reentry.
In March 2016, an illegal alien by the name of Margarito Quintero Rosales swerved into oncoming traffic, killing Peter Hacking and two of his young children: 4-year-old Ellie and 22-month-old Grayson. Prosecutors believe that at the time of the incident, Rosales had fallen asleep at the wheel. Despite driving without a license and killing three innocent people, Rosales was only sentenced to two years in state prison—the maximum punishment available.
Because Rosales unlawfully reentered the United States after a prior deportation, he was also given a two year federal sentence. However, because current law allows for Rosales to serve both of his sentences concurrently, he will only spend a total of two years in prison, while the Hacking family will spend the rest of their lives in pain. Peter’s widow, Courtney, spoke directly to this inequity at Rosales’ sentencing. “You weren’t supposed to be here,” she said in a written statement read aloud in court to Rosales. “All of this heartbreak is because of you.”
Recognizing this grave injustice, Rep. Ratcliffe introduced H.R. 5526, the Peter, Ellie, and Grayson Victims of Illegal Criminal Entry (VOICES) Act of 2018. This legislation elevates unlawful presence in the United States to an aggravating factor for any federal criminal offense, and ensures that time served in a state facility will not count towards an existing prison sentence for an immigration-related crime. Essentially, this change would eliminate a loophole that has awarded lighter punishments to illegal aliens by taking advantage of concurrent sentencing guidelines.
The VOICES Act is cosponsored by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Steve King (R-Iowa), Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.).