NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 14, 2005

At the federal immigration court in Harlingen, Texas, 98 percent of the defendants never show up. The court allows the vast majority of both Mexican and non-Mexican nationals caught crossing our borders illegally to go free, says Washington Times.

Each morning, Federal Immigration Judge William Peterson presides over an empty courtroom, reads charges against people who aren't there and orders them to be deported. But according to the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, it takes 89 days to order them deported -- meanwhile, they are free and their location is unknown. Thus, under the government's "catch and release" policy, illegals are rubber-stamped into the country, says Washington Times.

If Judge Peterson's court handled only Mexicans looking for jobs, the problem would be bad enough, says the Times:

  • But about one of every eight illegals whose papers reach Judge Peterson's court are not Mexican.
  • Most are from other Latin American countries, but some come from the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, among others.
  • Of the estimated 465,000 fugitive absconders currently living in the United States, 71,000 are thought to be "other than Mexican" -- among whom terrorists lurk.

The number of "other than Mexican" illegals is rising:

  • As the Washington Times reported last month, Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar said federal agents in Texas have detected a threefold increase in non-Mexican numbers this year.
  • The U.S. Border Patrol had detained 98,000 non-Mexican nationals across the country by early June, but about 70 percent of them were released immediately owing to lack of detention facilities.

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) are expected to introduce new fugitive absconder legislation later this summer.

Source: Editorial, "The 'Other Than Mexican' Loophole," Washington Times, July 14, 2005.


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