Our laws were written in the most emphatic terms to ensure that those who entered illegally cannot remain in this country undetected. The purpose of those laws was precisely to detect illegal aliens and ensure that they are promptly removed from the country. Yet lower court judges, violating foundational Supreme Court case law, are flipping those laws upside down and are now making it unlawful to detect and deport illegal aliens. The latest Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is a great example of why no new laws will solve the problem if the executive branch will passively capitulate to lower courts subverting existing laws. The cycle will just continue.
On Wednesday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that two Guatemalan illegal aliens could not be deported based on ICE finding out their unlawful status from a traffic stop initiated by a state trooper. In doing so, the judges not only created a Fourth Amendment right to privacy against detecting one’s illegal immigration status – contrary to years of case law – but also ruled that illegal aliens can’t be deported based on obtaining such information! In other words, when the laws say illegal aliens cannot be shielded from detection (8 U.S. Code §1324), they really mean they cannot be detected.
The two plaintiffs, Erick Geovany Yoc-Us and Luis Calel-Espantzay, are Guatemalan nationals who were sleeping in the back of a van when Pennsylvania state trooper Luke Macke pulled over the vehicle for speeding. There were six other people in the van who turned out to be citizens of Mexico, El Salvador, and Ecuador. Any commonsense police officer seeing that circumstance would have reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally.
The trooper smartly asked them for immigration papers or other forms of ID. The trooper called ICE, the people admitted to being here illegally, and they were placed in deportation proceedings. They were ordered deported by an immigration judge, and the ruling was upheld by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the appellate body of immigration court system.
Open and shut, right? Illegal aliens have no right to remain here and no right to remain undetected. As I’ve noted before, illegal aliens could have some constitutional rights if we want to permanently confine them, but if we merely want to remove them from the country, they have no Fourth Amendment rights against that. In fact, the laws are explicitly designed to ensure they are immediately detected.
Section 1324 prevents officials from shielding from detection, harboring, inducing, encouraging, or transporting illegal aliens and enabling them to remain in the country. The Alien Registration Act (8 U.S. Code §1253) downright requires them to register and carry papers on them.
As Dan Cadman, former ICE agent and fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, told CR, “The federal alien smuggling-harboring-transporting statute, 8 U.S.C.1324, gives state and local police the authority to enforce its provisions. Using good police work, these officers developed probable cause to believe that one illegal alien was unlawfully transporting the others in violation of that statute. That ICE chose instead only to pursue civil deportation proceedings against all of them does not invalidate the lawful stop and investigatory actions of the Pennsylvania police and should not form a basis to suppress the evidence that flowed from their actions.”
But two of the illegal aliens appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated because, of course, the trooper asked for papers because of their appearance, in their view. Again, such a lawful stop wouldn’t violate the Fourth Amendment even if they turned out to be Americans, but in this case, they were indeed illegal aliens. As Chris Hajec, director of litigation for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, told CR, “This is a deeply absurd decision. Illegal aliens do not have the right to be in this country. So they do not have the right that citizens have to travel around it freely. No police officer is violating the Fourth Amendment by detaining an illegal alien for a reasonable time.”
The aliens claimed they were detained for too long, longer than a normal traffic stop, and had to sit there without air conditioning. But again, they weren’t detained for the purpose of imprisonment, they were detained for the purpose of handing them over to ICE, which is the purpose of our immigration laws. As the Supreme Court said in Turner v. Williams (1904), “detention or temporary confinement as part of the means necessary to give effect to the exclusion or expulsion was held valid.”
Yet Judge Midge Rendell, wife of former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, went a step further. Not only did she declare the police action a violation of the Fourth Amendment, but she also suggested that it might be subject to the “exclusionary rule,” meaning that evidence obtained through unconstitutional means must be tossed out. “Because petitioners have identified a possible egregious Fourth Amendment violation, we conclude that the [immigration judge] erred in not granting their motion for a hearing to provide them with an opportunity to put forth evidence in support of their claim,” wrote Rendell, joined by another Democrat and a Republican appointee.
To begin with, the exclusionary rule has grown beyond any constitutional parameters over the years. Already in 1980, President Reagan identified it as a lawless practice that needed to be changed. It’s been expanded exponentially since his time. But to apply it to illegal aliens in the context of deportation proceedings is insane. By definition, the laws were designed to ensure that illegal aliens cannot be shielded from detection. It’s not like an American who has the right to be here. Deportation is not criminal punishment and is not subject to those rules.
Incredibly, this same circuit court has now rejected all claims from American citizens in New Jersey being retroactively criminalized for possessing pistol magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, even though they were purchased lawfully. It violates the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, and the Art. I Sec. 10 rule barring states from enacting ex post facto laws. Yet Americans have no real rights while the courts create rights for illegal aliens to invade and remain in the country while they are suing law enforcement for enforcing the law.
If nothing is done about judicial supremacy, there won’t be a country left to fight for during the elections. Illegal aliens can sue our law enforcement, but we can’t sue them or protect our own legitimate rights in court. We are strangers in our own country.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.