Charges for Illegal Re-Entry on Rise in Alabama

Kent Faulk, The Birmingham News, September 25, 2011

Jesus Alejandro Meraz-Martinez has spent more than half his life in the Birmingham area. During that time, he has been sent back to his native Mexico an even dozen times.

Nine times he voluntarily left after being arrested by federal immigration authorities. He went before judges in three other cases.

After one arrest on Oct. 9, 2006, by the U.S. Border Patrol in Santa Teresa, N.M., he was convicted of illegally re-entering the country and served an 18-month sentence in prison before being deported.

The 33-year-old man, who has worked in construction, has been back in an Alabama jail since July, awaiting his Jan. 3 sentencing after pleading guilty Sept. 15 to another illegal re-entry charge. That charge carries another possible prison sentence and a 13th deportation.

Meraz-Martinez is part of the growing number of people in Alabama and the nation charged with illegal re-entry by an alien previously deported–a crime that now represents nearly a quarter of all federal criminal prosecutions in the United States.

In Alabama, the number of cases filed by federal prosecutors has more than doubled in the past five years–from 33 cases during fiscal year 2005-2006 to 78 so far this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Alabama’s numbers, however, are just a tiny fraction of the 35,836 illegal re-entry charges filed nationwide in fiscal year 2010, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. {snip}

Illegal re-entry is a charge that applies when a person is deported and then returns without legal permission. U.S. attorneys in each of the nation’s 94 federal districts have discretion over whether to prosecute such cases and how often.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    What about tattooing the repeat offenders foreheads with the phrase, Persona Non Grata? I bet that the Saudis would be able to find a quick, effective solution to the problem of multiple illegal reentry if it were happening there.

  • rockman

    illegals return all the time and have been doing this for years

  • patthemick

    Federal attorneys have discretion on enforcing our laws? I say they pursue every invader with the mercy of a cat on a mouse. These guys are invaders nothing less. As this economy crashes we aren’t going to have police to protect us and then the real problems begin.

  • anonymous

    the state police never seem to give me a break when I’m driving 10 miles over the speed limit on a straight stretch of rural road…………….. are those laws more important than the law of illegality??

  • ken

    Soon the Christmas season will be upon us and thousands of illegal aliens will be leaving Alabama and heading for Mexico. They will make their way back just in time to prune the peach tree limbs before spring. My question is; how do they make it back across the border so easy? Do they use some type of identification that allows them to reenter or do they have to sneak back across?You see the same faces at our local Wal Mart beginning in February.

  • WASP

    An illegal first hit and ran me when I was walking my bicycle across the street in a crosswalk, just like I was rightly taught, on the way home from elementary school.

    The next time was when I was in the Navy in San Diego driving a military vehicle, an illegal crashed into the side of it with a large late-model heavy car and sped off.

    It happened again on the freeway about ten years later. This time I actually cornered the illegal. He whimpered and said he was leaving the country the next day. Unbelievable.

    The U.S. roadways are just one big game of bumper cars for illegals.

  • Sincerely Concerned

    Ken, I just read a story today about the illegal immigrants pulling their children, at least temporarily, out of Alabama schools. There was a huge absentee list on Friday. The rest of the story, written by an AP writer and presented on Yahoo! News, makes it sound as if the gestapo is after them. They will not, I think, run back to Mexico. They’ll run into Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee and to some extent, Florida. Look out border counties, here they come.