Mazzuca: Troubling indeed
Normally I refrain from singling out either Democrats or Republicans. My political lexicon is left, right, liberal, conservative, etc. But today I’m going to depart from that practice and single out a party I believe is going off the rails.
On December 10, 2019, 44 House democrats co-sponsored H.R. 5383, the New Way Forward Act. And not since the Civil War have so many congressional representatives from one party voted on a measure that would materially alter the social fabric of the nation.
Under current immigration law, legal U.S. immigrants can be deported if they commit aggravated felony or a crime of “moral turpitude,” i.e., an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community, such as child molestation. (Note — the term moral turpitude has appeared in U.S. immigration law since the 19th century.) H.R. 5383 would eliminate deportation for such crimes.
Under current law, immigrants who rape someone or who sexually abuse a child face mandatory deportation. But Under H.R. 5383 rape, child molestation and other heinous crimes will no longer result in automatic deportation. Yes, you read that correctly.
There is a deportation provision in the bill, but only if the crime results in a five-year prison sentence. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Justice Statistics tells us the average prison sentence for weapons offenses, fraud and car theft are less than five years. Additionally, the Bureau of Justice Statistics also cites numerous instances where the perpetrators of rape, child abuse and manslaughter received sentences of less than five years.
But even a five-year prison sentence wouldn’t necessarily trigger deportation, because the bill would grant sweeping new powers to immigration judges allowing them to nullify a deportation order if, “…the immigration judge finds such an exercise appropriate in pursuant of humanitarian purposes or when otherwise in the public interest.” By the way, who defines public interest? Further, if enacted, immigrants who have been convicted of serious crime would be allowed remain in this country while retaining their eligibility for citizenship.
The bill would also eliminate the two U.S. statutes that make drug addiction and moral turpitude grounds for deportation. At the same time, illegal entry into the United States would be decriminalized even for those who have been previously deported, meaning if an illegal alien breaks the law and is subsequently deported, that same illegal alien under H.R. 5383 would be allowed back in the country.
Incredible as it may seem, to detain an illegal alien under H.R. 5383, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would have to prove in court the alien is either dangerous or a flight risk. However, the law would prohibit ICE from using the detainee’s prior criminal behavior as proof of danger. And if the detainee claims to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or one of the other “protected” groups, the hurdles for ICE become even more onerous. In addition, if the alien can’t speak English and an interpreter isn’t available in a “timely” fashion, ICE cannot legally detain the transgressor at all. In essence, this bill would make it nearly impossible for federal immigration officials to detain immigrants regardless of circumstances.
But perhaps its most startling provision of this bill is using taxpayer money to bring deported criminals back into the United States. That’s right; the bill provides that the U.S. government create a “pathway for those previously deported to apply to return to their homes and families in the United States” as long as they would have been eligible to stay under the new law.
Under this bill, the Department of Homeland Security would be required to use taxpayer dollars to transport criminals who’ve been convicted and deported back into the United States. You just can’t make this up folks — and if you doubt it — read the bill.
Its highly unlikely H.R. 5383 will go anywhere because most lawmakers see it for the disaster it is. But that’s not what we should find troubling. As recently as 10 years ago any legislator supporting the provisions of this bill would have been publicly ostracized, yet today when nearly 20% of House Democrats support this seismic shift in Democrat Party orthodoxy, the mainstream media remains silent.
Quote of the day: “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm”—Publilius Syrus
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. Follow him on his blog at butchmazzuca.com.
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