Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What the Heck? U.S. Arresting Undocumented LEAVING the Country

The L.A. Times reports that U.S. border authorities no longer apprehend undocumented immigrants only as they enter the country. Now they're catching them on the way out. At various times near the Tijuana-San Diego border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have been setting up checkpoints, boarding buses headed to for Mexico and pulling off people who lack proper documentation.  The undocumented immigrants they apprehend are typically turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing. Unless they have serious criminal records or numerous immigration violations, most are returned to Mexico within a few hours, the agents say. Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center of Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, said he was not aware of similar crackdowns in the past. The checkpoints make sense for intercepting contraband, but targeting undocumented immigrants voluntarily leaving the country is a "bizarre" way of handling the illegal immigration question, he said.

KJ

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2008/05/what-the-heck-u.html

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Comments

I suspect the reason is to create an arrest record, based on the premise that if a person has entered illegally once, they'll do so again, and if they're caught again, ICE can move directly to whatever the strike two penalty is. I don't know that it's a good use of resources, but since we're currently stuck in a punish and deport mentality rather than trying to fix the situation, it probably seems like a good idea to someone.

Posted by: Erin | May 7, 2008 6:04:21 PM

I suspect the reason is to create an arrest record, based on the premise that if a person has entered illegally once, they'll do so again, and if they're caught again, ICE can move directly to whatever the strike two penalty is. I don't know that it's a good use of resources, but since we're currently stuck in a punish and deport mentality rather than trying to fix the situation, it probably seems like a good idea to someone.

Posted by: Erin | May 7, 2008 6:04:22 PM

I hope this isn't a step towards a comprehensive passport control system for leaving the country of the sort found in, for example, Russia. There one must go through passport control not only when entering the country but also when leaving to make sure that one hasn't violated the arcane and deeply complicated visa registration rules, among other things- rules that are literally hold-overs from the Soviet Union. Such rules make travel by legitimate travelers more difficult, more unpleasant, and generally less desirable, reducing even completely desirable movement. It also sets up many opportunities for corruption. I suspect that Erin is right in her account above but I also fear that this could be a first step down a road to a system that makes all travel more difficult, harming everyone.

Posted by: Matt Lister | May 8, 2008 6:10:34 AM

Follow the money. This is another way for the private prisons to keep their jails full and make more money. The only way a business grows is with more customers.

Posted by: Oscar Levin | May 8, 2008 4:01:53 PM

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