I was checking out various immigration related prosecutions online and came up with the press release that was issued jointly by the FBI and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia on the 28th of January, 2011. This press release is important for you to consider for a number of important reasons. In fact, a number of the statements made in the press release substantiate many of the arguments I have made about various aspects of immigration law enforcement.
As you probably know, I have always been a strong advocate for the close cooperation between law enforcement agencies and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and/or with CBP (Customs and Border Protection). As I noted in the last couple of days, yet again, one of the important reasons for taking immigration issues into account is the way that such issues may have a direct impact on bail determinations made by federal magistrates or state or city judges in criminal cases.
Bail hearings generally consist of two components, danger to the community and risk of flight. Danger to the community is usually easy to establish- if the defendant was found to be in possession of a weapon or significant quantities of illegal drugs, it is clear that he (she) poses a threat. Additional indicators of danger to the community may include an individual who is charged with a violent crime or has a past history of committing crimes that involve violence or the threat of violence.
The issue of risk of flight can often be difficult to prove or even articulate. Risk of flight deals with creating a means of peering into the mind of the defendant to determine his (her) intentions. When the defendant is an illegal alien who has few, if any, ties in a community, the risk of flight goes up dramatically.
If the alien has a history of failing to show up for immigration hearings and perhaps thereby forfeiting an appearance bond, the risk becomes clearer. The risk further increases if the defendant has a history of using false names and providing false addresses. It is nonsensical to not take such factors into account and making this sort of compelling information available to a judge or magistrate who has to make the tough decision about appropriate bail.
Now I would ask you to consider this excerpt from the press release (it is actually the very first paragraph):
ATLANTA-RHETT MAUGHON, 48, of Decatur, Georgia; RAFAEL VILLERREAL SR., 41,of Suwanee, Georgia; and MARCUS MAUGHON, 46, of Powder Springs, Georgia were arraigned today on federal charges of filing fraudulent corporate and individual tax returns that failed to state cash wages paid to themselves and their employees; and encouraging and inducing illegal aliens to reside in the United States unlawfully by employing them and paying them wages in cash. RHETT MAUGHON and MARCUS MAUGHON were each released on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond. RAFAEL VILLERREAL SR. was detained by the United States Magistrate Judge Russell L. Vineyard after it was established that he is illegally present in the United States. The indictment in this case was returned by the grand jury on January 25, 2011.
You will notice that while two of the defendants were permitted to post relatively low personal recognizance bonds of $25,000 each, the third defendant, Frafael Villerreal, Sr., was detained when it was determined that he was an illegal alien. Certainly his immigration status seems to have played a major role in the magistrate’s decision. Of course it is hard to understand how the press release did not delve into the citizenship or immigration status of the two defendants who were permitted to post personal recognizance bonds. We will get a bit further into this omission later on.
While I am pleased that the apparent illegal alien status resulted in Rafael Villerreal, Sr., to be remanded I am, however, disappointed that there was no mention as to his country of citizenship or how he entered the United States. I have often thought that from an intelligence perspective, our government should seek to determine how illegal aliens enter our country in an effort to build and intelligence database to target smuggling rings or possibly determine if visas had been inappropriately been granted to illegal aliens, especially if they are engaged in serious criminal activities to weed out corruption and combat a variety of vulnerabilities in the system.
Next I want you to consider another interesting point that was made in the press release:
“These defendants allegedly paid cash to themselves and to their illegal alien employees and did not report the cash wages to the IRS,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “By doing so, not only did the defendants violate federal tax laws, but they also violated immigration laws by encouraging and making it more possible for illegal aliens to have the financial means to continue to live illegally in the United States.”
I have often included the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that deems this sort of activity to be a felony.
Beneath the FBI press release, I have provided you with the copy of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324- for the sake of convenience, I have provided you immediately below, with excerpts of that statute that are particularly relevant to this case:
Title 8, U.S.C.
1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).
Encouraging/Inducing – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who – encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting – Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), enacted on September 30, 1996, added a new 8 U.S.C.
1324(a)(3)(A) which makes it an offense for any person, during any 12-month period, to knowingly hire at least 10 individuals with actual knowledge that these individuals are unauthorized aliens. See this Manual at 1908 (unlawful employment of aliens).
Unit of Prosecution – With regard to offenses defined in subsections 1324(a)(1)(A)(i)-(v), (alien smuggling, domestic transporting, harboring, encouraging/inducing, or conspiracy/aiding or abetting) each alien with respect to whom a violation occurs constitutes a unit of prosecution. Prior to enactment of the IIRIRA, the unit of prosecution for violations of 8 U.S.C.
1324(a)(2) was each transaction, regardless of the number of aliens involved. However, the unit of prosecution is now based on each alien in respect to whom a violation occurs.
Penalties – The basic statutory maximum penalty for violating 8 U.S.C.
1324(a)(1)(i) and (v)(I) (alien smuggling and conspiracy) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. With regard to violations of 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(ii)-(iv) and (v)(ii), domestic transportation, harboring, encouraging/inducing, or aiding/abetting, the basic statutory maximum term of imprisonment is 5 years, unless the offense was committed for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in which case the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years.
As you read the relevant sections of law and consider the wording of the press release- specifically,”…they also violated immigration laws by encouraging and making it more possible for illegal aliens to have the financial means to continue to live illegally in the United States.”
Clearly it is the position of the federal prosecutors that by providing a source of income to the illegal aliens, the employers are accused of aiding, abetting and encouraging illegal aliens by providing them with the financial means to continue to live illegally in the United States.
Here is my question- and I am willing to bet it is a question you have already formulated,
“If an individual or company is to be accused of making it more possible for illegal aliens to have the financial means to continue to live illegally in the United States by providing them with a salary for working illegally in the United States, why is it that while the federal government is suing the state of Arizona for establishing its own laws that parallel the federal immigration statutes but take absolutely no action against those communities that declare themselves to be “Sanctuary Cities” for illegal aliens, thereby, arguably adding the potential charge of harboring or shielding illegal aliens which is not only a matter of preemption, but would certainly appear to be a matter of obstruction in addition to the criminal law violations contained in Title United States Code, Section 1324.
This should then call into question the concept of providing instate tuition for illegal aliens- providing them with access to significant savings in terms of the cost of their education while depriving the universities they attend the revenue that is badly needed to maintain the high standards our universities must have if our students are to be adequately equipped to be competitive in their respective fields upon graduation. If, as the saying goes, “a penny saved is a penny earned, then the instate tuition should properly seen as an inducement to violate our borders and as a means of contributing to the financial means of these illegal aliens to live illegally in the United States- to borrow the phrase from the quote provided by the prosecutor in the case upon which my commentary is predicated.
Here are several more points I want you to give some thought to:
This investigation might have potential national security implications- even though there was no mention of this issue in the press release I want you to give a bit of thought to an issue that has concerned me greatly ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Our elected leaders in Washington along with the leadership of a number of federal agencies have continually issued statements and press releases about efforts to protect our nation and especially our nation’s critical structure from potential terrorist attacks.
Indeed such measures are important. However, while we often hear critical infrastructure as consisting of military bases, nuclear power plants and airports, we seldom hear any of our leaders talk about the fact that our food supply including restaurants and food processing plants should be considered as being among the elements of our nation’s “critical infrastructure.” Several months ago there were several news reports that did mention concerns about “Mumbai style” attacks being carried out in the United States. The concern was that terrorists might attempt to poison patrons of restaurants and hotels.
The company that was the focus of the press release was the “Atlanta Meat Company.” While it is extremely unlikely that the illegal aliens who were employed by the company were intent on poisoning the food they processed, it is equally unlikely that an elderly airline passenger would be planning to hijack an airliner he was preparing to board, yet no matter how young or how old a passenger might be, all are subject to careful and ever more invasive screenings and searches.
Many of us are so concerned about the cleanliness of the food we eat that many people actually check out the Board of Health inspections reports to make certain that we do not become sickened because of unclean conditions or because the kitchen workers who toil out of sight in the restaurants we patronize engage in unsafe food handling practices.
Think about how vulnerable we are when illegal aliens whose true identities, backgrounds, intention and affiliations are unknown and unknowable. This is not about xenophobia, this is about commonsense.
Airline mechanics are thoroughly trained and licensed. It is certainly understood that if a mechanic who works on an airliner screws up, many people may die. The need to know the true identities of those who work in areas where there is a potential for a loss of life is clearly understood and appreciated. Shouldn’t there be some concern as to the screening process by which workers are given access to our food supply?
Restaurants in New York and elsewhere are now required to post the calories of the foods on the menu. The amount of sugar and salt to be found in each portion is being carefully scrutinized. If these issues concerning the content of the food we eat is so important, shouldn’t there be an equal concern as to who prepares the food that we eat?
Providing illegal aliens with access to the food supply represents a risk to public health and hence is an issue that should be effectively addressed!
In mentioning the workers of the Atlanta Meat Company, I think it is important to make note of the fact that there was no mention of the citizenship or immigration status of the illegal aliens who were allegedly hired by the defendants in this case nor was there any mention even about the citizenship or immigration status of the other two defendants Rett Maughon or Marcos Maughon who were both permitted to post personal recognizance bonds as I noted at the beginning of my commentary. There was some mention of the fact that they were, apparently, not illegal aliens, but I would certainly like to know if they are resident aliens, who they are ultimately convicted for the crimes they are charged with would face the possibility of being removed (deported) from the United States. If they are naturalized United States citizens then I would hope that an investigation would be conducted into the way that they applied for naturalization since the potential might exist that they committed fraud in filing for residency and naturalization.
In considering the illegal aliens who were purportedly hired by the defendants, there was no mention as to how many illegal aliens were involved or what efforts, if any are being made to locate and apprehend them. My concern is that the apparent philosophy of the administration is to target the employers of illegal aliens with so-called “silent raids” but not make any meaningful effort to locate, arrest and seek the removal of illegal aliens who may have worked for the employers who are being charged with having hired them.
If hiring illegal aliens and paying them makes it easier for them to live in our country as was noted by the prosecutor, then failing to seek to apprehend and deport such illegal aliens also aids them in their quest to live and work in the United States and also winds up encouraging still more illegal aliens to violate our nation’s borders and laws. Furthermore, in noting that the illegal aliens were either allegedly paid entirely in cash or at least partially in cash, it is likely that they had paid no taxes on their income. This is not an uncommon situation- paying illegal aliens “off the books.” Paying workers in this fashion means that income taxes are not being paid depriving cash strapped government money sorely needed on the local, state and federal level.
Finally, in noting the criminal charges that are being brought against the three defendants in this case, there was no mention of the any specific immigration laws that the defendants are being charged with violating. This causes me to ask the obvious question- will the defendants be charged with violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)? If you review the potential penalties for violation of various provisions of the INA you realize that the potential for serious fines and jail sentences upon conviction for committing violations of these laws have been established in recognition of how important these laws are and were to our nation’s leaders when they enacted these laws.
The time has long since come for the federal government to place far greater emphasis on the immigration laws.
The purpose of our nation’s immigration laws is to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence is harmful to our nation and our citizens. When aliens manage to enter our country in violation of law or otherwise violate the terms of their admission into our country, the immigration laws are supposed to provide a lawful remedy in the removal of those aliens from our country.
This mission is, arguably, one of the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Businessmen Indicted on Tax and Immigration Fraud Charges