Contrary to Sen. John McCain’s claim that any illegal immigrant who has committed a crime in America will “be deported,” NRO’s Fred Bauer points out that as written, the immigration reform proposal only bars criminals from gaining legalization only after committing “3 or more misdemeanors.”
Additionally, the bill exempts many “minor” crimes from this “three-strike rule”:
So under the bill, an illegal immigrant could be convicted of two misdemeanors (or even more misdemeanors if those crimes were committed on the same incident) and still receive amnesty. In Senator McCain’s home state of Arizona, misdemeanors include certain kinds of assault, theft, arson, intimidation, and bribery. So an illegal immigrant could commit multiple crimes in Arizona and still get Registered Provisional Immigrant status.
And, yes, the secretary of homeland security also has the ability to waive some of those limits on criminal convictions.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, these exemptions mean as many as 45% of convicted criminals on Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s watch list would be eligible for citizenship:
In the most recent six-month reporting period (October 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013), ICE removed 38,547 aliens who had been identified as a result of an arrest by another agency. Of these, 45 percent (17,208) were lesser offenders who would be eligible for legalization under the Schumer-Rubio amnesty. These were classified as Level 3 offenders in ICE parlance (convicted of fewer than three misdemeanors on separate occasions), fugitives, prior removals and returns, illegal border crossers, and over-stayers and visa violators.
This group would include the likes of Manuel Zaruma, a 24-year old illegal immigrant construction worker from Ecuador, who recently was convicted in Worcester County, Mass., of negligent vehicular homicide (a misdemeanor), driving unlicensed, and two more traffic infractions after a crash that killed Andrea Agosto, age 47, mother of three children. By Schumer-Rubio standards, these are minor offenses, and it would take three fatal crashes like this to disqualify Zaruma. Fortunately ICE tracked him down and jailed him pending removal once a Worcester County judge let him walk free after sentencing him to the three years of probation recommended by his taxpayer-funded defense attorney and expert witness.
For more analysis of the Gang of 8 bill, click here.