December 19, 2013
On December 13, 2013, a Federal District Judge in Texas admonished the Department of Homeland Security because “instead of enforcing our border security laws, [DHS] actually assisted the criminal conspiracy [of alien smuggling] in achieving its illegal goals.” According to the Court, “The DHS is rewarding criminal conduct instead of enforcing the current laws” and “encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children.”
The case of US v Nava-Martinez involved a resident alien, Nava-Martinez, who pleaded guilty to “attempting to smuggle a ten-year old El Salvadorean female . . . into the United States” in violation of federal law. The district court used its order in the case to describe a factual senario that it had encountered at least four times in as many weeks.
The facts involve an illegal alien living in the United States who hires a human trafficker to smuggle a child into the United States. When the human trafficker is caught by US Border Patrol, DHS takes custody of the child and takes the child to the illegal alien parent living in the United States at taxpayer expense. DHS does not institute removal proceedings against the illegal alien parent nor prosecute the parent for participating in a criminal conspiracy for smuggling. Instead, DHS “complete[s] the mission of the conspiracy initiated by [the illegal alien parent] . . . instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, the Government t[akes] steps to help the individuals who violated it.” In the Court’s view, “A private citizen would, and should, be prosecuted for this conduct.”
The Court went onto discuss the reasons why this DHS policy is ill advised. The Court explained that by assisting in smuggling children into the United States, the federal government was (1) effectively helping to fund illegal drug cartels “which are a very real danger for both citizens of this country and Mexico, (2) the policy “undermines the deterent effect the laws may have and inspires others to commit further violations, and (3) the policy “lowers the morale of those law enforcement agents on the front line here on the border.”
The opinion is attached here.
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