One of the running complaints raised against opponents of border security is the proliferation of criminal illegal aliens who enter the United States repeatedly, are apprehended and then sent back to their home countries. That part of the formula would be fine were it not for the fact that so many of them keep crossing the border multiple times, only to be found committing additional crimes. In some of the worst cases, you wind up with a result along the lines of the murder of Kate Steinle. But less high profile situations clog the system on a regular basis.
This year that destructive pattern has finally begun to change, albeit slowly. With new laws on the books and a more aggressive Attorney General, prosecutions are on the rise and sentences are at least somewhat more appropriate for the perpetrators. One such case came through this week in Louisiana, where Juan Carlos Rigoberto-Martinez had been caught in the country illegally multiple times after committing multiple crimes. The citizen of Honduras encountered a different sort of reception this time and found himself in federal court where he was summarily sent up the river for more than a decade. (Justice.gov)
BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney Corey Amundson announced that yesterday U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles sentenced JUAN CARLOS RIGOBERTO-MARTINEZ, age 33, of Honduras, to serve 130 months in federal prison for illegally reentering the United States after removal. The defendant’s extensive criminal history, including his status as an aggravated felon, contributed significantly to the lengthy sentence.
Yesterday’s sentence stems from the defendant’s federal conviction on April 12, 2017, for illegally reentering the United States after removal. Immigration authorities first removed the defendant from the United States on January 7, 2008, after he completed a state prison sentence in Georgia for burglary and theft.
Several months later, on June 5, 2008, the U.S. Border Patrol found and arrested the defendant in Texas for illegally reentering the United States after removal. The defendant plead guilty to the offense, resulting in a 77-month federal prison sentence from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. On December 27, 2013, immigration authorities again removed the defendant from the United States following the completion of his prison term.
This is an encouraging development which will hopefully send a strong message to the illegal alien community. Too often in the past we’ve seen illegals who have been deported as many as seven times being brought in on charges and we essentially focus on the new crimes they have committed. If those are sufficiently “minor” in nature they are frequently given yet another free ride back to their homeland and the cycle begins anew.
Not so with Rigoberto-Martinez. He had done a short stretch in prison in Georgia for burglary in 2008 when he was deported back to Honduras. In a matter of months he was back in the United States illegally once again. This time he was arrested for multiple robberies in Baton Rouge. He was already found guilty on those counts, but this time there was a difference. In a separate trial, he was found guilty exclusively of reentering the country illegally after having been deported as a criminal illegal alien. That was the charge he was sent up on rather than the robberies. (For which he will serve a shorter, concurrent sentence.)
Even if all Rigoberto-Martinez had been convicted of was petty theft of a pack of gum at a convenience store, he could have been locked away for a good, long stretch for illegal reentry. It’s obvious that our prison system doesn’t need to be further strained with a deluge of these criminals, but the less welcoming of a place we make America for criminal illegal aliens, the lower the incentive will be to jump the fence and come here. The sentencing of Rigoberto-Martinez goes at least some way towards driving that message home among the illegal alien community.
Now if we can just make the E-Verify system mandatory across the board to decrease the incentive for illegal aliens looking to take paying jobs rather than stick-up jobs we might really have something going. But don’t get your hopes up, since that would involve Congress actually doing their jobs.