The Latest Bill for Immigration Reform

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The Latest Bill for Immigration Reform
By Carlos Gamino

As immigration lawyers serving Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, we always hope for the best when immigration reform bills are introduced in Congress.

The latest in a string of bills aimed at reforming our immigration system, introduced by Arizona Senators 
John McCain and Jeff Flake, takes aim at undocumented immigrants who have been arrested or who have been convicted of serious crimes.

The Criminal Alien Deportation Act Bill and Immigrants
The bill, if passed, would require the Department of Homeland Security to detain undocumented individuals who are arrested (not necessarily convicted – just arrested) for a crime that would render them inadmissible to the U.S. if they were to pursue a legal immigration route.

The bill comes with a hefty price tag: $100,000,000.

It would also require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a list of the number of aliens currently present in the U.S. who have ever been arrested for a criminal offense, the number who have ever been convicted, and the number who have final orders of removal.

Finally, the bill says, “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall complete removal proceedings for any alien held pursuant to section 236(c)(1)(E) not later than 90 days after such alien is detained.”

The bill was introduced July 13, and according to McCain and Flake, “Our bill would stop the reckless catch-and-release policies… In Arizona, we’ve seen the success of detaining and swiftly prosecuting criminal immigrants under Operation Streamline, and our bill would be an important step in extending a ‘zero tolerance’ approach nationwide.”

Operation Streamline, which requires on-the-spot sentencing of detainees at the border, had one judge bragging about the speed with which he sentenced 70 immigrants who were caught crossing the border illegally. 

“My record is 30 minutes,” bragged Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco of Federal District Court in Tucson. That means each of the accused immigrants had approximately 25 seconds to hear his or her charges, enter a plea and receive a sentence.

It seems as if the Criminal Alien Deportation Act Bill would have similar results – at least according to what McCain and Flake have said. While Operation Streamline is legal, it may not be moral.

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