Arrest Not a Concern When Illegal Immigrants Break U.S. Law

Katie Pavlich

8/1/2013 4:00:00 PM - Katie Pavlich
A new study from the American Sociological Review shows illegal immigrants from Mexico don't consider the possibility of being arrested a deterrent from breaking U.S. immigration laws.

Mexicans intending to cross the border illegally into the US are not significantly deterred by threats of arrest or the severity of possible punishment – the primary method for dealing with illegal immigration in the US – according to a new study of potential migrants.

Concerns about punishment and arrest are typically less influential in the decision to cross the border than other economic and non-economic factors, said a study published Thursday in the August issue of the American Sociological Review.

Those factors that had a greater influence on whether someone would consider crossing the border illegally include: the prevalence of undocumented migrants in a community, perceptions of US legal authority and the perception of job availability in Mexico.

"This study offers insights into how unauthorized migrants justify their violation of US immigration law, and how such justifications might make noncompliance with this particular law possible among otherwise law-abiding individuals," study author Emily Ryo said. "People generally see themselves as moral beings who want to do the right thing as they perceive it."

Considering law enforcement authorities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, really don't have much ability to punish people who come to the United States illegally, this attitude makes total sense. Lack of enforcement is a problem ICE Council President Chris Crane has explained in detail multiple times to Congress. Agents are prohibited from enforcing the two most common immigration law violations: visa overstays and illegal entry.

"For the last four years it has been a roller coaster for ICE officers with regard to who they can or cannot arrest, and which federal laws they will be permitted to enforce," Crane said. "Most Americans would be surprised to know that immigration agents are regularly prohibited from enforcing the two most fundamental sections of the Unites States immigration law. According to ICE policy, in most cases immigration agents can no longer arrest persons solely for entering the United States illegally. Additionally, in most cases immigration agents cannot arrest persons solely because they have entered the United States with a visa and then overstayed that visa and failed to return to their country."
Not to mention, illegal immigrants who are arrested in the United States and then deported back to Mexico for other crimes like drunk driving or drug possession, often come right back over the porous border.

An illegal alien who has already been deported 11 times was arrested Tuesday on charges of drug possession with intent to distribute, the office of Pinal County, AZ Sheriff Paul Babeu reported today.

Daniel Jupa-Fino and his passenger allegedly fled on foot from his vehicle - carrying 220 pounds of marijuana with at street value of 165,000 - when a deputy pulled him over for a routine traffic violation. When police caught up with Jupa-Fino, he fought with them before being taken into custody.

Jupa-Fino had previously been deported 11 times, Border Patrol officials told the Pinal County sheriff's office after running a check on him.

"This is yet more dramatic evidence that our border is not secure - putting citizens and the country at needless risk.  Unfortunately, the Gang of Eight's amnesty-first framework guarantees that the border will remain insecure," a GOP Senate aide told CNSNews.com.
When laws mean nothing and have little to no consequence for violation, people don't care much about breaking them.