Shouldn’t a DHS Secretary know that illegal immigration is a crime?

posted at 12:16 pm on April 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The boss is all over an interview of Janet Napolitano on CNN this weekend, in which the Secretary of Homeland Security — the department that secures our borders — blithely asserts that illegal immigration is not a criminal offense.  No, really:

KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate [Joe Arpaio]. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.

NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren’t enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.

What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.

And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.

That makes perfect sense, except for a troubling entry in the actual penal code, as Julie Kirchner points out:

8 USC Sec. 1325

(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts

Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such  offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

Hint to the DHS Secretary: We don’t toss people in prison for losing civil lawsuits.  The penal code makes illegal immigration a crime, one which Napolitano’s department is supposed to investigate and prosecute.  One might think that a person put in charge of the Department of Homeland Security would have familiarized herself with this particular law after having been in the position for several months.

But of course, Napolitano knows that illegal immigration is a crime.  She and the administration she serves don’t want to enforce that law; they want to pretend it doesn’t exist.  The DHS seems a lot more concerned about the danger of American combat veterans returning home than they do illegal aliens crossing the borders, which speaks volumes about the political bent of the Obama administration.


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..crossing the border is not a crime per se

But is it a crime if the border crosses you?

Tzetzes on April 21, 2009 at 9:40 PM

The crime occurs only if a person crosses the border AND the location is not an official border crossing with immigration officers.

slp on April 21, 2009 at 7:29 PM

“Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first
commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or
imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.”

8 U.S.C. Sec. 1325

So even if the alien crosses at an official border crossing, if the alien is hiding in the back of a truck say, or if the alien lies to the immigration officers or shows them a phony ID, it’s a crime. It’s also a crime if the alien enters the U.S. via otherwise legal means (such as a tourist or student visa, for example), but lies about a material fact (such as not actually intending to be a tourist but a permanent resident) to obtain the visa.

AZCoyote on April 21, 2009 at 9:41 PM

This woman needs to spend a week in the desert with a group of wetbacks and coyotes.If they do not kill her she might come home with a new point of view. We are messico’s dumping ground for illiterate savages.

Col.John Wm. Reed on April 21, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Excuse from Napolitano:

“What? When that Hispanic guy said he was Jesus I had no idea I should have asked for his green card. I thought I should be praying.” ;-)

Hawthorne on April 22, 2009 at 12:09 AM

cackcon on April 21, 2009 at 4:48 PM

The moment that a person step onto American soil they are subject to American law. They are within the jurisdiction of of U.S. Code and can be held for violating any condition set forth in it. Any person that enters the United States outside of a recognized border crossing point and does not have the proper visa to be here is violating our law and can be arrest and tried for it.

As for the applicability of our Constitution, you are not entirely correct. All American courts and law enforcement agencies are required to act in a Constitutional manner while inside of the boundaries of American legal jurisdiction. That is why we have fought to keep the prisoners at Guantanamo off American soil.

Hawthorne on April 22, 2009 at 12:18 AM

All I hear hear from this stupid cow, Napolitano is; “MOO, MOOOOOO, MOOO, MOOOO.
Look over on the wall in your office you stupid cow, there should be an FBI Most Wanted List for Domestic Terrorism posted on your wall like there is every OTHER DHS office in the country. Why don’t you bother READING the FBI list for once you bovine, you’ll see that EVERYONE on that list is a LEFT-WING freak. While your at it, go ask Jeremiah Wright why two of HIS buddies are on that list from the Black Liberation Army.

nelsonknows on April 22, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Hey, she didn’t know it was a crime. Democrats aren’t really too smart, as everybody knows. And she’s a bull-dyke.

apco on April 22, 2009 at 12:36 AM

You cannot expect that any appointee of this administration is going to display competence. Nearly every one has displayed appalling ignorance of the basic functions of the departments they supposedly “lead.”

n0doz on April 22, 2009 at 12:41 AM

This woman needs to spend a week in the desert with a group of wetbacks and coyotes.If they do not kill her she might come home with a new point of view. We are messico’s dumping ground for illiterate savages.

Col.John Wm. Reed on April 21, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Food for a month, at least…

right2bright on April 22, 2009 at 1:57 AM

crossing the border is not a crime per se…
But is it a crime if the border crosses you?
Tzetzes

Kinda sorta hard to do ya think?

The border hasn’t moved in 161 years.

Do you know of ant “living” person over 161 years old?
If no, then the border could not and has not cross anyone.

The USA bought California for 15 million in 1848 (we have the bill of sale), and Mexico offered all of Baja California for an extra 10 million.

DSchoen on April 22, 2009 at 2:38 AM

Crossing the border IS a crime PERIOD. AZ Coyote cited it above.

dogsoldier on April 22, 2009 at 6:40 AM

Wow Ed, you must’ve stayed up late to come up with that fake outrage. Too conservatives everything is the end of the world when Obama or his administration does something. How long can your side cry wolf, before people just ignore you? OMG, Obama shook Chavez’s hand, its the end of the world, Obama smiled as he did it, the end of the world. The whining of conservatives is annoying. Maybe if your side quit whining about everything, and came up with some ideas, you could get back into power. I’ll lay me some odds, thats not gonna happen.GOP=crybabies waaaaaaaaaaaaaah

athensboy on April 22, 2009 at 7:20 AM

I kinda wonder why all of these talk show people don’t pool the money to hire good lawyers to sue the U.S. Goverment to uphold the laws that are on the books?

But as usual they are all talk.

Rick007 on April 22, 2009 at 8:12 AM

And, Ed, how different is she than the Republicans? George W. Bush had the same mindset. Worse if you ask me. He rarely even went after the employers. They’re all sucking up to the U.S. Chamber trying to get some of those blood soaked dollars they’re offering. DD

Darvin Dowdy on April 22, 2009 at 8:29 AM

And, Ed, how different is she than the Republicans? George W. Bush had the same mindset. Worse if you ask me. He rarely even went after the employers. They’re all sucking up to the U.S. Chamber trying to get some of those blood soaked dollars they’re offering. DD

Darvin Dowdy on April 22, 2009 at 8:29 AM

And your point would be what exactly?

doriangrey on April 22, 2009 at 8:43 AM

“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Barry Goldwater, the Left’s favorite conservative.

Mr. Grump on April 22, 2009 at 8:54 AM

This is interesting since we have heard so often it is a civil offense not a criminal one. I actually believed that information since it came from usually responsible sources.

amr on April 22, 2009 at 9:06 AM

Logical thinking tells some that nothing is illegal unless you are caught.

Such is the case with illegal aliens. Crossing the boarder without proper documents is not illegal unless you are caught the same goes the other way Mexico and other countries go after illegal aliens because they sense the invaders will contaminate their culture. As Mr. Savage says we should be no different “Boarders, Language, Culture” are the building block of a society and when eroded destroy the whole.

MSGTAS on April 22, 2009 at 9:20 AM

How can these people in government be allowed to tell blatant lies.

davod on April 22, 2009 at 9:22 AM

Where is the prosecution of Federal agents who tortured the Branch Davidians?

maverick muse on April 22, 2009 at 10:18 AM

And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil

They have developed doublespeak where ‘illegal worker’ means ‘employer illegally hiring workers who vote Democrat with fake ID’ or ‘virtual citizens who wandered over the border because we announced we will not stop them if the vote for us’

Is the civil law part where the new voters get the $20 dollar ticket for ‘illegal workering’, or is it where the government lays fines on an ‘illegal workering’ business that failed to pay off the right politicians?

entagor on April 22, 2009 at 11:44 AM

The Canadian media ask a question the US media has not:
Can someone please tell us how U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano got her job?

JeffinSac on April 22, 2009 at 12:41 PM

The real question is shouldn’t a DHS Secretary care that illegal immigration is a crime?

TrickyDick on April 22, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Things are what they say they are, and things aren’t what they say they aren’t.

Waterboarding, sleep deprivation, etc. is ‘torture’.

Illegal immigration is just plain old immigration.

The Constitution applies to everyone on the planet (actually, just those they sympathize with).

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 22, 2009 at 11:43 PM

This is a firing offense.

Napolitano has disqualified herself from being able to hold this high office.

She should tender her resignation in profound embarrassment immediately.

profitsbeard on April 23, 2009 at 12:08 AM

How scary is it that this nitwit is in charge of HOMELAND SECURITY? Holy mackerel, I’m glad I don’t live in a big city – likely targets for future terrorist attacks.

darwin-t on April 23, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Maybe they put Napolitano in charge of Homeland Security so she couldn’t hurt anyone

I don’t think they want Homeland Security acting on anything so they thought it was a safe spot to park her

She figured out how to communicate anyway

entagor on April 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM

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