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

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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