A New Way for a State Government to Sabotage Immigration Enforcement

By David North on June 12, 2011

You have heard all about sanctuary cities, and some states' refusal to cooperate with the Secure Communities program, and state-sanctioned tuition breaks and driver's licenses for illegal aliens, but there is a new wrinkle in state-sabotage of immigration enforcement.

It comes to us from Washington State, one of three states that still issue driver's licenses to illegals.

I find it devious; others may find it creative.

As background, the feds can (if they put their mind to it) deport someone who has a year-long sentence for breaking the law. Most crime is handled by state courts, and the federal immigration system needs to rely on state-level convictions when it is working on deportations of criminal aliens; for years it has been easier to deport someone with a year's jail sentence, even if suspended, than for others.

Recently some of the pro-mass migration states have noticed that if an alien was found guilty of a gross misdemeanor, and if he or she has been sentenced to a year in jail, that can lead to deportation. Instead of being pleased that criminal aliens will be taken off their streets, they have begun manipulating systems to keep those aliens in the country, and, I guess, in their own states.

This movement has taken two forms, executive, and legislative. The hapless former acting governor of New York, David Paterson (who replaced the disgraced Eliot Spitzer) decided that he would use his pardon power to eliminate or soften sentences for lesser offenders who might otherwise be deported. That, according to a New York Times report, did not lead to more than six pardons then, with three more coming along later.

More recently, on April 15 of this year, according to an article in the May 9 Interpreter Releases (the immigration bar's trade paper whose text is not available online) the governor of the state of Washington signed an all-too-clever law (SSB 5168) that emerged out of the state's legislature. Bearing in mind the one-year rule, the law was changed so that those convicted of gross misdemeanors were to be jailed, at most for 364 days, not 365.

The rationale for this action was spelled out at the beginning of the new law:

The legislature finds that a maximum sentence by a court in the state of Washington for a gross misdemeanor can, under federal law, result in the automatic deportation of a person who has lawfully immigrated to the United States, is a victim of domestic violence or a political refugee, even when all or part of the sentence to total confinement is suspended . . . Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to cure this inequity by reducing the maximum sentence for a gross misdemeanor by one day.

I suppose if you looked hard enough you could find a victim of domestic violence, or a political refugee, in just about any large group of people you could imagine.

Maybe aliens with gross misdemeanors in mind will start to migrate to the state of Washington.