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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Kansas Court Rules Being in the Country Illegally is Not a Crime

Kansas Court Rules Being in the Country Illegally is Not a Crime

LatinaLista — A Kansas Court of Appeals has inadvertently highlighted the crux of the illegal immigration problem in this country that has pitted “rule of law” supporters against humanitarian defenders.

What’s ironic is all that the judges in the case intended to do was — follow the rule of law.


It all started with the case of Nicholas Martinez.
Martinez is a known drug dealer in Kansas; he is also in the country illegally.
Martinez pleaded guilty to having cocaine in his possession and using his young son to deliver the drugs to an undercover officer. He is hardly a candidate for Father of the Year or a model citizen.
However, evidently, the prosecutors in the case didn’t see Martinez as a threat to society and only recommended that he be placed on probation. But the judge, citing Martinez’ illegal status, said she couldn’t rule to place him on probation because he was in violation of the probation before he could even begin.
However, an appeals court ruled that wasn’t the case.

“While an illegal alien is subject to deportation, that person’s ongoing presence in the United States in and of itself is not a crime, unless that person had been previously deported and regained illegal entry into this country.”

So, evidently, the act of entering the country is separate from actually staying here – according to our laws — and that boils the immigration debate down to its core.
Supporters of immigrants who are illegally here have long contended that it is unjust to target these immigrants when they have shown that they are contributing members of their local communities.
Some of these immigrants have resided in this country for years, as evidence of their children having US citizenship. Yet, the hysteria that has not just fueled conservative extremists but gripped state legislators, who have been working overtime to “save” their states from, basically, Latinos, is no clearer example of the rampant discrimination and racism that threatens to undermine the security of this country.
The accusation that undocumented immigrants are committing a crime just by being here can no longer be considered a valid or credible argument in light of the Kansas Court of Appeals ruling, which actually cited two different court decisions, one a 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision, to justify their conclusions.
Those that continue to use this argument should be seen for who they are: individuals or organizations who would rather spread misinformation to achieve a personal agenda that creates a racial division, mutual mistrust and an abuse of the “rule of law” to meet their own definitions.
It is unfortunate that those legislators, who have the power to positively address their undocumented immigrant residents within their own communities, have fallen prey to the shouting and intimidating accusations of not being “patriotic” hurled from these individuals and groups.
These politicians lack leadership qualities, but most importantly have shown that they don’t represesent all their constituents and are quite willing to make the most vulnerable of their constituents the sacrificial lambs of this debate to appease those who relish the idea of controlling the outcome of this sad issue.

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Comment(10)

  • Avatar
    Horace
    August 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Unfortunately for your argument, the fact is that the only practical way an illegal alien can survive in this country is to use forged documents or by identity theft, thereby misrepresenting his citizenship, a crime punishable under federal law. You may rationalize a justification of their presence, but the lie they live is criminal and morally wrong. Deportation, Si se puerde!

  • Avatar
    Latino Pundit
    August 30, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Maybe Horace, but you miss the point. Maybe not.
    The article is about the labeling of immigrants who come here illegally as criminals.
    Our justice system is saying that when a person come here illegally to live and work, that that person is not a criminal by the sole reason of them entering the country illegally.
    I suggest you buy a white black robe and a gavel if you want to challenge the courts of Kansas.

  • Avatar
    Latino Pundit
    August 30, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Besides Agosto, If you fear documents being forged and all the follies that come along with that, let’s tell the government to grant amnesty and resolve this issue once and for all. Si se puerde!

  • Avatar
    David O.
    August 31, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Oye Mosco,
    Don’t you know nuthing? It’s “¡Sí se puede!” buey.
    The fact is the high court in Kansas invalidated your mantra, which is so ironic.
    This is another typical Horace post, hysterical and full of generalization. Or to put it in a different way, it is sneaky way of calling those without papeles immoral and criminal.
    Make sure you pay your taxes pendéjo, because so many ilegales need social security and WIC payments.
    So how does an uneducated illegal go about stealing someone’s identity?

  • Avatar
    Colorado Luis
    August 31, 2007 at 10:11 am

    The Kansas Court here is only stating what is obviously true under the law. That’s the whole reason why Sensenbrenner and Tancredo wanted to make undocumented presence a crime last year.

  • Avatar
    Latino Pundit
    August 31, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Colorado Luis? Now there’s a name from the past! =)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    August 31, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    It is still against the law to enter this country illegally. It is a civil misdemeanor. It should be a felony.
    Using forged documents and stolen I.D.’s is a felony, however. We should give amnesty to illegals who have committed felonies in this country? How so? If an American citizen commmits a felony he/she goes to prison.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 1, 2007 at 8:00 am

    I understood the point Marisa was making, but it hardly absolved illegal aliens of their crimes of identity theft and use of fraudulent documents. Think of it similar to a thief double parking while entering the bank to cash a forged check. The penalty for double parking is a ticket and a tow, but the forged check will get him five years. You can spend a month of Sundays minimizing the parking ticket but that won’t change a thing. Marisa motive, as that of all apologists for illegal aliens, was to divert attention from real crime. No illegal alien who violates our laws will get a pass, regardless of their personal motivations. If they want equal treatment under the law, illegal aliens must be willing to accept the consequences of their actions. They are not children.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 2, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Whether its a felony or just a misdemeanor is not the important question here. The only racial division is the one caused by Latinos who wish special treatment for their friends and families when it comes to immigration. I’ve heard all of the justifications for scoffing at our laws, that enforcing the law will cause families to be split (not a new revelation, as they knew full well that this could happen when they crossed and lived here pretentiously), that they contribute to our economy (so citizens and those who come legally as will legal replacements of illegal aliens), that they would never be given the opportunity if they didn’t (the same situation for millions of others in other countries at their educational level), that they pay taxes (as we all do and as others who come legally), that the immigration system is broken (so what, that doesn’t justify illegal aliens making up their own rules or demanding that we make changes to accommodate them), that we are a nation of immigrants (granted, but we are nation of laws first, and those laws benefit citizens fist and foremost) but I’ve never heard a reason that they should be given exception to our policies. Hispanic illegal aliens have little to offer this country that that can’t be had by recruiting from other countries, at our invitation. For example, Lithuania has a 90% literacy rate and all of their young people speak English. They have a great work ethic and a European life style closer to that of the U.S. and would require little effort on our part to assimilate. Furthermore, they don’t mind immigrating to the U.S. for better opportunities. These people never impose upon our welfare system, as they have a high capability for upward mobility, unlike Latin Americans who would likely require one or two generations to become successful.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 2, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Horace, I agree with much you have said. One thing I do disagree with though is that we are nation of immigrants. That may have been true long ago but most of us in this country today were born here, we didn’t migrate here and our families have been here for generations. We are a nation of Americans now, not immigrants. Yes, we still take in immigrants but so do many other countries. Are they called a nation of immigrants? Not that I know of. Time to drop that silly notion and that silly label.

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