Hair-splitting Judges Rule in Favor of Northern Border Coyote

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has recently ruled that an admitted alien smuggler, who worked in upstate New York, should not be deported because he did not actually cross the border with the assisted illegals, thus blowing another hole in the already faltering efforts to enforce the immigration law.

The case also reminds us that illegal aliens don’t sneak across the southern border only and that Indian reservations along either border complicate law enforcement there.

The instant case involves Carlos Parra-Rojas, a permanent resident alien from Columbia, who was caught (presumably by the Border Patrol) at a highway check-point near the Mohawk Indian Reservation adjacent to the New York/Quebec border back in 2009. He was driving two illegal aliens south to New York City, a trip he had taken twice before with illegals, earning him $500 per alien per trip.

DHS moved to deport him, a step fought by Parra-Rojas’ all-too-able lawyer, through various courtrooms. First, Parra-Rojas pled guilty to harboring illegal aliens and was sentenced to a year and a half in jail. The next stop was a hearing before an immigration judge, who ruled him deportable. That decision was appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which agreed with the IJ. Then the Columbian appealed that decision to the Third Circuit (by now the fourth court in the case).

That court ruled on March 26, to quote Gerald Seipp’s article in the April 7 issue of Interpreter Releases, the immigration bar’s trade paper:

…there was no evidence that the petitioner, who was apprehended while transporting illegal aliens within the U.S., actually performed any act of encouraging, facilitating or otherwise, relating to the aliens’ entry into the US, within the ambit of INA § 212(a)(6)(E)(i).” (Emphasis in the original.)

It is safe to say that the unnamed illegals in this case did not cross into the U.S. because they wanted to spend a lot of time on the Mohawk Reservation; they were headed for the big city and the ride with Parra-Rojas was an integral part of the trip. The three circuit court judges hearing the case, for some reason, did not see it this way and remanded the case to the IJ to decide whether or not the driver should be allowed to stay in the U.S.

I can’t comprehend the judges’ thinking process, but I do recognize the legal swamp they were in, the complexities and the nuances of the immigration law, as reflected by another part of the IR account:

…the Court of Appeals … in reversing a removal order issued by the … BIA, determined that the petitioner [Parra-Rojas] was not rendered ineligible for adjustment of status as relief from removal based on inadmissability under INA … due to his criminal conviction under INA … for “bringing in and harboring aliens.”…

Ordering a student in an English class to parse a sentence with so many negatives could be ruled a cruel and inhumane punishment!

Users of PACER, the federal courts’ document system, can read this decision in the Third Circuit files, case 13-1828, document 003111570579.

Unfortunately the decision has been ruled a “precedential” one, meaning that other federal courts, in similar situations, must pay attention to the ruling. This bodes ill for the enforcement of the immigration law, as many of the illegal activities of the coyotes, on both borders, do not take place at the actual crossing site.

Tribal Arrangements. The Mohawk Reservation, incidentally, is a well-known smuggling site, and not just for southbound aliens. Its ill-policed part of the border is also used for the illicit shipment of untaxed cigarettes north to Canadian black markets; during Prohibition, the flow of goods was the other way.

Some of the many complications of U.S. immigration systems are the special arrangements of various kinds made in the immigration law and practice for Indian tribes claiming members on both sides of our southern and northern borders. There are always entries in the Yearbooks of Immigration Statistics, for example, for “American Indians born in Canada, new arrivals.” There were 211 of them recorded in the 2011 yearbook, presumably reflecting a vote, by their mothers, for the Canadian health system.

DHS has gone to extremes to be friendly to “tribal nations,” not only in the distribution (I kid you not) of millions in anti-terror funds, but in permitting at least one of the tribes at the southern border to issue its own passport-like documents which DHS honors, as reported in an earlier blog.

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