LatinaLista — It's never been a secret that the United States has a love affair with criminalizing people. Maybe it goes back to the days of the wild, wild West when it took brave men to stand up to train and bank robbers and cattle thieves.
All the early days of television that ran western shows idolized the guys wearing the badge and toting the gun.
Yet when this nation became industrialized, a.k.a. more civilized, the arrests of purported criminals just got worse. True, some deserved to be there â€” the killers, the robbers, the rapists, etc. But it's always been a curiosity as to why U.S. society is so much more lawless compared to other countries.
According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the United States ranks first among all countries with the biggest prison populations. As of Dec. 31, 2006, the U.S. prison population stood at 2,258,983.
Curious that the other two countries in the top three, #2 China and #3 Russian Federation, are known for oppression and arbitrary imprisonment. I realize that it's natural that these other two countries are included in the top three because these three have the world's largest populations but one would think that either Russia or China would take top spot.
Well, from the news today, the #1 spot is probably going to be our's for a lot longer.
It was reported that criminal prosecutions of undocumented immigrants reached an all-time high in March 2008. Immigration cases accounted for 57 percent of all new federal criminal cases.
If that wasn't bad enough, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reports that the three highest offenses for incarceration today are:
1. Drug offenses.
2. Weapons, Explosives, Arson.
Somebody working versus someone dealing in drugs or setting fire to something just doesn't seem a fair comparison to jail someone, but then again, when it comes to undocumented immigrants fairness is the last thing on people's minds.
In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has made it known that it hopes by criminalizing all caught undocumented immigrants it will discourage them from returning.
Again, they don't see the reality of the situation.
The same report identifies the top lead charges in prosecuting immigration matters. Surprise, the #1 charge with 1,331 cases is "Reentry of a deported alien."
So much for discouraging these people.
As the old saying goes, "where there's a will, there's a way."
When will DHS realize that the will of these people is much stronger than the will of Congress and that until Congress forgets about their reelection chances and does what is best for these people and the country's economy, the U.S. will be criminalizing the majority of the North American and Central American continents before everything is over and done.