Sunday, January 11, 2009

criminal activity

Push on Immigration Crimes Is Said to Shift Focus
Solomon Moore, January 11, 2009, New York Times

"Federal prosecutions of immigration crimes nearly doubled in the last fiscal year, reaching more than 70,000 immigration cases in the 2008 fiscal year, according to federal data compiled by a Syracuse University research group. The emphasis, many federal judges and prosecutors say, has siphoned resources from other crimes, eroded morale among federal lawyers and overloaded the federal court system. Many of those other crimes, including gun trafficking, organized crime and the increasingly violent drug trade, are now routinely referred to state and county officials, who say they often lack the finances or authority to prosecute them effectively.

Bush administration officials say the government’s focus on immigration crimes is an outgrowth of its counterterrorism strategy and vigorous pursuit of immigrants with criminal records.

Immigration prosecutions have steeply risen over the last five years, while white-collar prosecutions have fallen by 18 percent, weapons prosecutions have dropped by 19 percent, organized crime prosecutions are down by 20 percent and public corruption prosecutions have dropped by 14 percent, according to the Syracuse group’s statistics. Drug prosecutions — the enforcement priority of the Reagan, first Bush and Clinton administrations — have declined by 20 percent since 2003.

Seeing as I have been having some trouble reigning in my frustrations this week, it seems only appropriate that I spotted this article just before letting exhaustion get the better of me and fading off into sweet slumber--and it kicked me right back into full gear. I spent several hours today composing my new affidavit so that I might submit it along with the additional evidence of hardship I have been pulling together in the past few days (although, uh, I somehow haven't managed to have a child in the past month, so really...let's be honest). It seems only fitting that after having to drudge up all emotion it takes to put together one of these affidavits (knowing the whole time that 1) the chances that it will be read, and 2) the chances that even if it is read it will have any bearing on the timing of the adjudication of our case = slim to none [timing from December 2008 appointment until adjudication is currently estimated at 15 months, but I am preparing myself for 18-24 months, given the fact that the backlog has almost doubled since last year...]), after going through all this I spot this article which hits home yet another of the absolute perversities of our current immigration policy. Why is the undocumented immigrant the scapegoat for all that is wrong with the world? Why are we diverting our resources from more serious and threatening criminal activity in order to prosecute and jail people who, by and large, are risking their lives in the hopes of obtaining a better life for themselves and their family? There has got to be a better way.

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