It would seem like plain old common sense: When an illegal immigrant is caught breaking the law, he or she should be booted out of the United States. After all: If you arent supposed to be here, youre already breaking the law. Violating another rule makes you a multiple offender, right?
For the Immigration and Naturalization Service, that doesnt seem to matter. News-Times reporter Louie Villalobos found a couple of illegal residents in jails in Grovetown and Columbia County, and discovered that after their sentences are served, the men will simply be set free. The INS isnt going to lift a bureaucratic finger to send them back to Mexico.
Thats not a big deal in the case of Juan Hernandez, convicted in Grovetown of driving without a license and released from jail just over a week ago. However, undocumented resident Rene Hernandez - no relation to Juan - apparently will be a free man when his one-year jail term ends next year, even though he was convicted of violent domestic crimes.
A local state officer cant do anything with an illegal immigrant, says a frustrated Sheriff Clay Whittle. It takes the INS.
And though an INS spokesman claims the agency is indeed interested in deporting lawbreaking illegals, the number of undocumented aliens has grown so large that individual cases just dont draw the agencys attention.
This has created a low-rent version of diplomatic immunity. Illegals who keep their heads down and their records clean know they have little reason to fear an INS knock at the door. But even those who break the law and are put in jail - the equivalent of being handed to the immigration agency on a silver platter - still dont have to worry about getting sent back home.
Its evident that the INS isnt doing its job in keeping border-jumpers from getting into the United States, even as it enforces with maddening efficiency its reams of rules regarding legal immigrants. The least the feds could do is boot out the illegals when someone else nabs them - especially if theyre nabbed while again breaking the law.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.