Delusional DAs endanger us by protecting foreign criminals


June 15, 2023

By Jason Hopkins and Matt O’Brien

If you ask most U.S. citizens what a district attorney (DA) does, they’d tell you something like, “prosecute criminals” or “enforce the law.”

But in an increasing number of American jurisdictions, that no longer appears to be the case. DAs across America now seem to think that one of their primary functions is to help foreign criminals remain in the United States.

Take for example George Gascon, the district attorney for Los Angeles County, California, the most populous county in the nation.

In December of 2022 Gascon introduced a new policy, Special Directive 22-07, aimed at avoiding “immigration consequences” for non-citizens who are charged with crimes.

Gascon’s rule requires prosecutors in Los Angeles County to consider alternatives when a defendant is not a U.S. citizen and faces potential deportation if found guilty in criminal court. Attempts to avoid sentencing enhancements and a preference for seeking pre-trial diversion programs over prosecution have now become a priority for prosecutors pursuing charges against foreign criminals. The ultimate goal, according to Gascon, is to keep foreign nationals in the United States, even when they violate the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act by engaging in criminal activity.

Unfortunately, Gascon’s decision to go soft on foreign criminals is part of a disturbing nationwide trend. Several years ago, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner created a new Immigration Counsel position within his office, with the sole purpose of reaching “immigration neutral” outcomes for non-citizens. Krasner’s spokesperson told local media that those accused of high-level offenses such as homicides or sex crimes would not enjoy special consideration.

In reality, however, Krasner’s Immigration Counsel consulted in dozens of cases in which non-citizens were accused of various serious crimes, such as rape, rape of a child, sex assault, and even murder. But rather than attempting to find ways to remove foreign thugs from the streets of Philadelphia, the Immigration Counsel was expending taxpayer resources attempting to keep them in the City of Brotherly Love. Prosecutors in other so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions have followed suit.

DAs across America now seem to think that one of their primary functions is to help foreign criminals remain in the United States.

Of course, Gascon and Krasner and their ilk are basing special treatment for criminal aliens on two mistaken notions: 1) that the removal of foreign criminals punishes them twice; and 2) that foreign nationals can only be removed from the United States when they have been convicted of crimes.

First off, the assertion that deportation is punishment is dead wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Fong Yue Ting v. United States, the Supreme Court expressly held that deportation “is but a method of enforcing the return to his own country of an alien who has not complied with the conditions upon the performance of which the Government of the nation, acting within its constitutional authority, and through the proper departments, has determined that his continuing to reside here shall depend.”

And, as the High Court noted in Ekiu v. United States, the removal of aliens who fail to comply with our laws is an exercise of authority that is inherent in the United States’ status as a sovereign nation. The Court stated, “It is an accepted maxim of international law that every sovereign nation has the power, as inherent in sovereignty and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe.”

Secondly, virtually any foreign national who has either broken our immigration laws to enter the United States, or has transgressed our immigration laws while here, can be deported. Gaming the system so illegal alien miscreants don’t sustain convictions is utterly pointless. If so inclined, the Department of Homeland Security can remove them solely on the basis of having crossed the border without authorization.

Meanwhile, giving a blanket special preference to lawfully present immigrants who have committed crimes simply sends a bad message that they can rely on their status as foreigners to escape culpability for criminal behavior. In the exceptional case where there are extenuating circumstances, reviewing courts have more than enough discretionary authority to minimize the impact a criminal conviction may have on an immigrant.

Moreover, as the vice president of the Association for Deputy District Attorneys of Los Angeles County noted, measures like those taken by Gascon and Krasner discriminate against U.S. citizens because they are not at risk of deportation, and thus won’t enjoy the same consideration when subjected to criminal charges.

To the casual observer, activist DAs like Gascon and Krasner might not seem like a big deal. But with the Biden Administration flooding our nation with millions of illegal aliens, average Americans should be asking who is actually protecting U.S. citizens from criminals? Because there’s no guarantee that a criminal alien cut loose by anti-borders progressives like Gascon or Krasner won’t be coming soon to a community near you. And if your local DA is also an anti-borders, sanctuary city activist, you may find the justice system protecting the criminal alien and not you.

Jason Hopkins is the Investigations Manager at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of unchecked mass migration.

Matt O’Brien is the Director of Investigations at the Immigration Reform Law Institute and the co-host of IRLI’s podcast “No Border, No Country.” Immediately prior to working for IRLI he served as an immigration judge. He has nearly 30 years of experience in immigration law and policy, having held numerous positions within the Department of Homeland Security.

Also published at American Thinker, June 15, 2023.

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