Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: More mandatory minimums, this time for immigrants

Yet another immigration-related bill comes from Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California. In January, Mr. Issa filed H.R. 45 to “impose mandatory sentencing ranges with respect to aliens who reenter the United States after having been removed …”

Didn’t we learn from the (failed) Drug War that mandatory minimums do not deter lawbreakers and only take power from judges?

Mr. Issa’s bill mandates a year in jail for an illegal immigrant with a clean record who re-enters the U.S. illegally. Currently, the law only provides a maximum penalty of 2 years in jail. The bill would also impose much higher mandatory minimums on immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S.

The parallels to the failed mandatory minimum policies for drug offenses are not unnoticed by criminal justice activists. The Families Against Mandatory Minimums looked up some recent statistics on immigration offenses and found that of the 73,277 people sentenced in 2009, over 90 percent were for illegally entering the U.S. and/or helping others across. Most had no prior criminal record.

FAMM also found that judges already gave most offenders close to maximum sentences. Is there really a need for mandatory minimums?

Rating: 3 teabags

Click here to learn about the rating system. For archives of the Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, click here.

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