Margaret Koenig, of California, chants with other anti-immigrant demonstrators across from the White House in Lafayette Square Sunday, April 22, 2007, in Washington. .Several hundred protesters gathered to kick off a week of lobbying against illegal immigration in Congress. Image Credit: Lawrence Jackson -- AP Photo
Quality Of Life Begins With Corrected Immigration
The sign of the protester says it all - "KICK ME! I'm A Citizen!"
A legal United States citizen is the last consideration in a long line of issues that surround the problems created by our Government's decade’s long inattentive attitude toward our existing immigration policies.
Respect for the sovereignty of the borders of the United States begins with enforcement of the laws that govern our country. Due to the decades of neglect to our immigration laws, all laws become less important and the quality of life of the average citizen get dragged down.
Congress, reacting to the increased pressure to correct the inattention our civil authorities to existing laws, has placed more border agents in the field to address the ills brought about through unchecked and illegal immigration. The agents arrest law breaking illegal immigrants and expect the prosecution infrastructure to finish its job and bring final justice to the equation.
Judges in the court system and local police who manage the jail infrastructure apparently did not get the memo.
The average legal citizen is serious about the quality of life brought about through the enforcement of our laws. It’s high time the people who manage the justice side of law enforcement step up and finish the task – Quit Whining ... roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Our elected and appointed officials need to step up now and make good on the job they are being paid for. The notes paid for their usefulness have become DUE IN FULL!
Excerpts from the Associated Press via the Sacramento Bee -
Immigration-related cases clog courts
By JENNIFER TALHELM -- Associated Press Writer - April 27, 2007
Immigration-related felony cases are swamping federal courts along the Southwest border, forcing judges to handle hundreds more cases than their peers elsewhere.
Judges in the five, mostly rural judicial districts on the border carry the heaviest felony caseloads in the nation. Each judge in New Mexico, which ranked first, handled an average of 397 felony cases last year, compared with the national average of 84.
Federal judges in those five districts - Southern and Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California - handled one-third of all the felonies prosecuted in the nation's 94 federal judicial districts in 2005, according to federal court statistics.
"The need is really dire. You cannot keep increasing the number of Border Patrol agents but not increasing the number of judges," said Chief Judge John M. Roll of the District of Arizona.
A bill by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Texas Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, would add 10 permanent and temporary judges in Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern and Western Texas. This proposal, and others like it, have gone nowhere in the past two years.
"I can't even tell you how much we need that," Roll said.
During a push to crack down on illegal immigration last fall, Customs and Border Protection floated a plan for New Mexico that would have suspended the practice of sending home hundreds of illegal immigrants caught near the border with Mexico. Instead, these people would be sent to court.
The idea, called "Operation Streamline," was to make it clear that people caught illegally in the U.S. would be prosecuted.
"We said, 'Do you realize that the second week into this we're going to run out of (jail) space?'" Martha Vazquez, chief judge for the District of New Mexico, recalled telling Border Patrol chief David Aguilar.
"We were obviously alarmed because where would we put our bank robbers? Our rapists? Those who violate probation?" she said.
Border Patrol eventually dropped the idea. Officials said they could not get all the necessary agencies to agree to it.
Congress has made available more than $1.2 billion for reinforcements, including fences, vehicle barriers, cameras and other security equipment.
Homeland Security officials say the increased security is working. In Yuma, Bush said that the number of people apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border into the U.S. has declined by nearly 30 percent this year.
Court officials, however, say they are in crisis mode trying to deal with all the defendants.
Even lawmakers from border states say they cannot justify adding judgeships in one district when other districts also need them.
Court officials say they have had to be creative just to try the cases they have. Visiting judges help out in some districts. In Arizona, magistrates hold sessions on the weekends and have seen as many as 150 defendants in a day.
In New Mexico, Vazquez, the chief judge, and former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias went on a Spanish-language radio station broadcast in Mexico this winter to warn people about the penalties for illegally entering the country.
Court administrators have trouble keeping employees, such as interpreters, because of the grind. Judges' staffs struggle with burnout. Everyone fights to keep up morale as they hear countless sad stories from migrants who broke the law searching for a better life in the United States.
"It'd be swell to have another judge or two," said Judge George Kazen, who is based on the border in Laredo, in the Southern District of Texas. "It would mean a little more time to spend on civil stuff, and a little more time to reflect. We have to make quick calls and move on."
How about green-lighting the justice process of immigrants caught breaking the law and do not have proof of being in this country legally as the good Judge suggests ("We have to make quick calls and move on.")? Why not suspend the deference afforded to citizens and lower the standards used to actually try a case and incarcerate an offender?
How many people do you think will want to get caught up into a meat grinder of serious justice?
We all could take a lesson from the attitude of the Sheriff in Phoenix, Arizona. If one is suspected of breaking the law ... we have room for you, even if we need to fence off an area in the desert and erect tents to keep you for your court date.
A legal citizens Quality Of Life is more important than the basic consideration given to the quality of life of a suspected law breaker, especially if the suspected law breaker is in our country illegally (that's two counts of disrespect for the rule of law in the pecking order).