Over 10,000 Americans die every year in drunk driving accidents. Many of them are caused by foreign nationals who either should never have been in the country or who could have been previously deported for prior arrests. Now it appears that the position of anti-ICE activists and sanctuary city politicians is that they will work to thwart the deportation even of serial illegal alien drunk drivers who have been ordered deported by a judge.
On Tuesday, a group of anti-ICE protesters helped a criminal alien lock himself in a car with a 12-year-old boy being used as a human shield after they saw a group of ICE agents coming to apprehend him. The protesters enabled him to remain in the car for four hours in the Hermitage area of metro Nashville and then, after ICE agents had already decided to come back another day, engaged in a political stunt and surrounded the car with a human chain.
One protester who helped form the human chain around the car told the local ABC affiliate, “I could see if these people were bad criminals, but they’re not. They’re just trying to provide for their kids.”
There’s just one problem. The individual was indeed a criminal alien with a final deportation order who has remained an ICE fugitive for nearly a decade. An ICE official confirmed the man’s identity to CR so that CR could locate his criminal history.
The man who locked himself in the car is a 29-year-old Mexican national who has been arrested at least three times in Tennessee. According to Davidson County court records, he was arrested on March 22, 2010, for drunk driving and for driving without a license. He was sentenced to time served and a year of probation.
According to ICE, he was ordered deported by an immigration judge in 2010 but was offered voluntary departure on July 28 (which comes with less criminal offense if he were to re-enter illegally). He was given until November 26 to depart. Instead of taking the offer, he absconded and then was given a final order of deportation in absentia, making him a criminal fugitive.
Astoundingly, he was arrested again on August 31 of that year and was found guilty of misdemeanor identity fraud and driving without a license. Again, he was cycled in and out of the criminal justice system with a final order to leave the country, and yet local officials treated him as if he were an American.
The Mexican fugitive was once again arrested in Davidson County on May 1 of this year for driving on a revoked license with an open container of alcohol, which was also a violation of his probation. Then he was in court on July 2 for a hearing over his probation violation.
How was this man able to cycle in and out of jail and court and interact with state government without ever being turned over to ICE? This was all after a final order of deportation.
Yet local officials who were at the protest treat ICE agents as if they, not the illegal aliens, are the criminals. Nashville Metro Councilman Bob Mendes, who claimed to be on scene at the attempted apprehension, said in a statement, “There are reports I have heard that the ICE agents may have been telling the gentleman in the van that he had to give himself up or else MNPD would arrest him. If that’s what they said, that’s not true.”
Mendes went on to extol the policy of Nashville not to cooperate with ICE.
Mayor David Briley said ICE “stokes fear and distrust in our most vulnerable communities, which is why we do not use our local resources to enforce ICE orders.” He promised to work with local open-borders groups “to make sure residents know their rights and that support and resources are available for undocumented immigrants should the need arise.”
We have now reached the point where these sanctuaries are harboring, aiding, abetting, and shielding from detection those who violate our driving laws, drive drunk, and violate a deportation order for nine years. Those are all violations of 8 U.S. Code §1324. DHS and DOJ have been lax about prosecuting sanctuary officials for harboring illegal aliens.
What these local officials are essentially saying is that anyone is allowed to break into the country and nobody is allowed to be deported, even after they are arrested for subsequent crimes. For activists and local politicians to interfere with enforcement of sovereignty is the ultimate form of anarchy against American citizens.
Moreover, for illegal aliens to refuse to depart and then lock themselves in a car is itself a criminal offense on top of the baseline civil immigration violation. 8 U.S. Code §1253 states as follows:
“Any alien against whom a final order of removal is outstanding…who willfully fails or refuses to depart from the United States within a period of 90 days from the date of the final order of removal under administrative processes” or who “willfully fails or refuses to make timely application in good faith for travel or other documents necessary to the alien’s departure” or who “connives or conspires, or takes any other action, designed to prevent or hamper or with the purpose of preventing or hampering the alien’s departure pursuant to such” or who “willfully fails or refuses to present himself or herself for removal at the time and place required by the Attorney General pursuant to such order” is subject to up to four years of imprisonment.
ICE could go back and obtain a criminal warrant from a U.S. attorney in this case for violation of §1253, but the agency has never had to do this since the implementation of federal immigration laws in the late 1800s. The Ninth Circuit issued a lawless ruling requiring it to obtain a criminal warrant to break into a house or car to get an illegal alien. But that opinion is not valid outside the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction, especially as it violates Supreme Court precedent. In Turner v. Williams (1904), the court made it very clear that as long as immigration officers are not trying to criminally convict the alien but rather deport him, “Detention or temporary confinement as part of the means necessary to give effect to the exclusion or expulsion was held valid.” The fact that an alien commits another crime to hamper that apprehension doesn’t make him better off and give him the right to thwart the basic actions necessary to affect the removal.
This principle was clearly established by James Iredell, one of the authors of Article III of the Constitution and a founding member of the Supreme Court. In 1799, he said the following, applying even of people who were lawfully admitted into the country, much more to those who violate today’s immigration laws and are ordered to be deported:
“Any alien coming to this country must or ought to know, that this being an independent nation, it has all the rights concerning the removal of aliens which belong by the law of nations to any other; that while he remains in the country in the character of an alien, he can claim no other privilege than such as an alien is entitled to, and consequently, whatever [risk] he may incur in that capacity is incurred voluntarily, with the hope that in due time by his unexceptionable conduct, he may become a citizen of the United States.”
For now, there is civil disobedience against the immigration laws, even when the subjects are drunk drivers and even accused child molesters. The only question is whether the administration will begin enforcing current law.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.