Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

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ICE Convicts Record Number of Illegal Aliens in South Texas During 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) efforts led to a record number of aliens being federally prosecuted in south Texas in fiscal year 2012, which ended Sept. 30.U.S.attorneys in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas successfully obtained convictions for 2,417 criminal aliens who illegally re-entered the United States after having been previously deported.

“These prosecutions send an important message to criminal aliens who believe they can treat deportation as little more than a revolving door. That message is, ‘there are significant consequences for flagrantly disregarding our laws,'” said Enrique Lucero, field office director for ERO San Antonio.

The San Antonio Violent Criminal Alien Section (VCAS) was established in 2008. Officers assigned to the unit are focused on pursuing prosecution for aliens with felony convictions who have been deported and have illegally re-entered the United States. Of the cases referred by the San Antonio VCAS since 2008, nearly 6,800 federal convictions have been obtained. Any alien who is deported based on a felony conviction, and who illegally re-enters the United States, commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Following are three examples of aliens who have been federally prosecuted by San Antonio’s VCAS unit for illegally re-entering the United States after having been previously deported:

  • A 35-year-old Mexican man, who is a convicted felon, was sentenced in October to seven years in federal prison. Some of his prior convictions include: possessing a firearm/knife during commission of felony, drug trafficking, and hit-and-run.
  • A 34-year-old Mexican man, who is a convicted felon and had been deported multiple times, was sentenced in August to eight years in federal prison. Some of his prior convictions include: burglary, alien smuggling and possessing a controlled substance.
  • A 40-year-old Mexican man, who is a convicted felon, was sentenced in July to five years in federal prison. Some of his prior convictions include: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault causing bodily injury to a family member, and drunken driving.

In central and south Texas, 2,003 aliens were federally prosecuted in fiscal year 2010, and 2,370 aliens in fiscal year 2011. According to ERO, the local increase in felony immigration cases stems from greater investigative and prosecutorial resources dedicated to such offenses.

Previously deported aliens targeted for criminal prosecution are those who have been re-arrested in the Southern or Western Districts of Texas. Historically, most aliens federally prosecuted for “re-entry after deportation” usually receive sentences of between two to 10 years in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal prison system.

ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.

ICE Target Operation Arrests 90 Criminal Aliens

As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 90 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators were arrested the week ending in Friday, December 14, 2012, during Operation Bear III throughout central and south Texas.

This six day operation concluded Thursday, December 13, 2012, and was conducted by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) teams in the following five Texas cities: Austin, Laredo, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and Waco.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment to protect public safety,” said Enrique M. Lucero, field office director for ERO San Antonio. “We focus our resources and efforts on arresting and removing convicted criminal aliens and those who disregard our nation’s immigration system.”

The 90 arrested included aliens with criminal convictions such as: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, indecency with a child, burglary, unlawfully possessing a firearm, aggravated assault, driving while intoxicated and drug possession. Thirteen of those arrested had been previously removed from the country; they are being federally prosecuted for illegally re-entering the United States after having been deported, which is a felony.

Following is the nationality breakdown of the 89 men and one woman arrested: Mexico(83), El Salvador (2), Guatemala (1), Honduras (1), Philippines (1), Portugal (1) and Vietnam (1).

Below are five summaries of those arrested during this six day operation:

  • A 37-year-old Vietnamese national and U.S. permanent resident with three prior criminal convictions for burglary was arrested Dec. 9 in Plugerville, Texas. He remains in ICE custody pending an immigration removal hearing before a federal immigration judge.
  • A 50-year-old previously-removed Mexican national with prior criminal convictions for possessing a controlled substance (cocaine). He was arrested Dec. 8, in Brownsville, Texas, and remains in ICE custody pending federal criminal prosecution for illegally re-entering the United States.
  • A 33-year-old previously-removed Mexican national is a self-admitted Valluco gang member with prior criminal convictions for robbery and possessing a controlled substance (cocaine). He was arrested Dec. 9 in McAllen, Texas. He remains in ICE custody pending criminal prosecution for illegally re-entering the United States.
  • A 55-year-old Mexican national and U.S.permanent resident with prior criminal convictions for indecency with a child (sexual contact) was arrested Dec. 8 in Laredo, Texas. He remains in ICE custody pending an immigration removal hearing before a federal immigration judge.
  • A 30-year-old Mexican national and U.S. permanent resident was arrested Dec. 10 in San Antonio. He has prior criminal convictions for assault causing bodily injury to a family member and two convictions for theft. He remains in ICE custody pending an immigration removal hearing before a federal immigration judge.

ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security.

ICE and ERO Announce New Deportation Initiative

 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Mexican Ministry of the Interior announced Tuesday, October 2, 2012, the beginning of the Interior Repatriation Initiative (IRI), a new pilot to provide humane, safe and orderly repatriation of Mexican nationals to the interior of Mexico and ultimately to their hometowns, instead of returning them to towns on the U.S.-Mexico border.

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will provide air transportation via charter aircraft to Mexican nationals who emigrated from the interior of Mexico. Upon arrival in Mexico City, the Government of Mexico will provide them transportation to their places of origin. This initiative will allow the Government of Mexico to assist returning Mexican nationals in safely reintegrating into their communities.

“IRI reflects our commitment and ongoing bilateral effort with the government of Mexico to ensure strong, humane and effective enforcement of both nations’ immigration laws,” said ICE Director John Morton. “This initiative will better ensure that individuals repatriated to Mexico are removed in circumstances that are safe and controlled.”

Gustavo Mohar Betancourt, Undersecretary of Mexico’s population, migration and religious affairs said, “This initiative aims to collaborate and fully support border state authorities by reducing the number of Mexican nationals who are repatriated to the border region. The newly repatriated, often with no means to return home, are susceptible to becoming a part of criminal organizations as a means of survival.”

The IRI will include Mexican nationals pending removal from all areas of the United States. Historically, a significant number of individuals are not from the northern border towns to which they are repatriated, leaving them in communities where they have no ties or family support. Removing Mexican nationals to the interior of Mexico is part of an effort to reduce repeat attempts to illegally enter the United States, avoid the loss of human life, and minimize the potential for exploitation of illegal migrants by human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as other criminal organizations.

Individuals who participate in the pilot initiative are transferred from across the United States to the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, N.M., before departure on an IRI flight.

The first repatriation flight of 131 Mexican nationals departed El Paso International Airport Tuesday, Oct. 2 and flights are scheduled to continue this year through to Nov. 29. Mexican nationals participating in IRI are removed on charter flights via the ICE ERO Air Operations (IAO) Unit. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., IAO has supported ERO since 2006 by providing air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide. Staffed by ERO officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner.

Connecticut Secure Communities Arrests Mexican National for Illegal Reentry

A Mexican national, who was encountered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program, was sentenced Thursday, September 6, 2012, to time served for illegally reentering theUnited Statesafter deportation. He pleaded guilty to the charge Aug. 20. This case was investigated by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Jose Angel Lopez-Garcia, 27, first entered the United States in April 1999 and voluntarily returned to Mexico. He reentered the country several times between 1999 and 2010. After illegally reentering in 2010, he was ordered deported by an immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and removed Sept. 24, 2010. On an unknown date after Sept. 24, 2010, Lopez-Garcia illegally reentered the United States once again. On June 10, 2012, Lopez-Garcia was arrested by the Stamford (Conn.) Police Department for various driving-related offenses.

Secure Communities

Secure Communities is a simple and common sense way to carry out ICE’s priorities. It uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership between ICE and the FBI that helps to identify illegal aliens without imposing new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. For decades, local jurisdictions have shared the fingerprints of individuals who are arrested or booked into custody with the FBI to see if they have a criminal record. Under Secure Communities, which is activated statewide in Connecticut, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to check against its immigration databases.

If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable, ICE takes enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history, and other factors – as well as those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws. Lopez-Garcia is a priority for ICE since he is an egregious immigration law violator that has been previously removed from the United States on 10 separate occasions. He is also now a convicted criminal alien, another priority for ICE.

Because Lopez-Garcia had been previously encountered and fingerprinted by immigration officials, there is a digitized record. Once his fingerprints were run after his most recent arrest in Connecticut, Secure Communities registered a “match,” and ICE was notified that Lopez-Garcia was back in the country illegally. He had been detained by federal authorities since that arrest, and will now be deported back to Mexico by ICE, making this his 11th removal.

“As this case shows, there will be consequences for those who show no respect for our laws or our borders,” said Dorothy Herrera-Niles, field office director for ERO Boston. Herrera-Niles oversees ERO throughout New England. “By using tools like Secure Communities, ICE is locating and deporting more criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators than ever before, and our communities are safer as a result.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala, District of Connecticut.

Criminal Alien and Child Predator Sentenced for Illegal Reentry

A citizen and national of El Salvador and a member of the MS-13 street gang who was previously convicted of sexually assaulting a child in Fairfax County, Va., was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison Friday, August 31, 2012, for illegally reentering the United States after having been previously deported.

The case of illegal re-entry was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

According to court documents, Salvador Portillo, 30, illegally entered the United States and was removed by ICE Oct. 8, 2003. Thereafter, Portillo again illegally reentered the United States.

On Dec. 26, 2010, he sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl in Fairfax County, Va. He was subsequently convicted of rape and sodomy in Fairfax County Circuit Court and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The 12 month sentence for illegal re-entry will follow the completion of the sentence term imposed by Fairfax County.

Portillo pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry July 23.

Jamaican National Arrested for Illegal Immigration, Drug Trafficking

Dean Myrie, aka Journey, 39, a Jamaican national, was arrested July 3, 2012, by the New York Police Department (NYPD)/U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Task Force, after the U.S. Marshals Service received a tip from someone who saw a June 29 episode of “America’s Most Wanted” featuring Myrie. Dean Myrie, who was in the United States illegally, was residing in an apartment in New York City. The investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the Baltimore County Police Department and Anne Arundel County Police.

“I want to thank “America’s Most Wanted” and our law enforcement partners in New York for their assistance in apprehending this fugitive who is alleged to be a part of a marijuana distribution organization involved in violent crime that spans four states and Jamaica,” said William Winter, special agent in charge for HSI Baltimore. “This Homeland Security Investigations-led investigation was greatly enhanced by the assistance and the expertise of the Baltimore County Police Department’s Homicide Division who uncovered and solved the murder of a member of the Brown criminal organization. HSI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and, ultimately, dismantle criminal organizations that are wreaking violence in our communities through the illicit drug trade.”

Myrie was indicted along with five others in connection with a conspiracy to distribute marijuana as part of the Brown organization, a criminal organization whose members allegedly engaged in narcotics distribution primarily in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, and Jamaica. The third superseding indictment was returned Oct. 25, 2011, and unsealed Nov. 7, 2011. Also charged in the indictment are:

  • Jean Brown, 42, of Jamaica;
  • Hubert Downer, aka Doc and Michael Reid, 51, of Jamaica;
  • Dmytro Holovko, aka The Russian, 53, of Hillside, N.J.;
  • Jason Carnegie, aka Dollar, Dollar Bill, and Dalski, 41, of Lauderhill, Fla. and
  • Anthony Hendrickson, 71, of Gardena, Calif.

The seven-count indictment alleges that from at least 2000 to the present, the defendants were part of the Brown drug organization and conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Further, the indictment alleges that in December 2009, Brown, Downer and Myrie kidnapped and murdered Michael Knight to further the Brown organization’s drug business. Downer is also charged with firearms violations and with illegally re-entering the United States, having previously been deported after a felony conviction.

The defendants face a maximum of life in prison for the drug conspiracy. Brown, Downer and Myrie face a maximum of life in prison for kidnapping in aid of racketeering and the death penalty for murder in aid of racketeering. Brown and Downer face a maximum of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid or racketeering. Finally, Downer faces a maximum of 10 years in prison each for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and 20 years in prison for illegal re-entry to the United States.

Myrie had his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in New York July 5 and will be transported to Baltimore in the next few weeks. Brown, Downer and Holovko are scheduled for trial Oct. 15. Hendrickson is scheduled for trial Feb. 4, 2013, and Carnegie previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and is awaiting sentencing.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stefan D. Cassella and Peter M. Nothstein of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Indiana Alien Harboring Group Arrested

Six people were arrested Wednesday, June 20, 2012, and charged with harboring illegal aliens as part of a conspiracy that allegedly obtained motor vehicle registrations, license plates and titles for illegal aliens. These arrests resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The following defendants were each charged in an indictment returned June 14 with one count of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud: Margarito Fuentes-Reyes, 50, of Goshen, Ind., and Omar Lagunes Duran, 34, Yalitza Exclusa Borrero, 31, Evelyn Rivera Borrero, 43, Raul Rafael Roman Camacho, 47, and Luis Omar Montes-Merino, 33, all from Indianapolis.

The indictment alleges that the defendants presented false information, forged documents and made false representations to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State. They also made false representations regarding the identity of the actual owners of motor vehicles to obtain motor vehicle registrations, license plates and titles. By committing these and other crimes, the defendants concealed, harbored and shielded illegal aliens from detection and encouraged illegal aliens to enter and remain in theUnited Statesin violation of immigration laws. The conspirators operated at locations in Indianapolis and Elkhart, Ind.

The following agencies assisted HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in the investigation: the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Elkhart Police Department, the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Secretary of State. Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of Indiana also provided assistance.

The public is reminded that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

30 Fugitives at Large for Document Fraud Ring

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) are searching for 30 suspects in five states after three indictments were unsealed in federal court alleging their involvement in a scheme to illegally obtain driver’s licenses from New Mexico.

According to the indictments, the defendants were in the United States illegally, and traveled from South Carolina and surrounding areas to New Mexico to apply for New Mexico driver’s licenses. The indictments set out that New Mexico, unlike South Carolina, does not require proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. It further sets out that the defendants obtained false proof of New Mexico residency, such as utility bills, and provided them to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department when applying for driver’s licenses in New Mexico. Those defendants would then return to the South Carolina area, and co-defendants living in New Mexico would later mail them the fraudulently applied for and obtained New Mexico driver’s licenses.

Charged in one indictment are: Alma Rosa Ortiz-Calzada, age 54, and Jesus Ortiz, age 29, both of Charleston, S.C.; Ivon Baray-Luna, age 31, Alfred Padilla, age 47, Victor Alvarez, age 25 and Elizabeth Lopez a/k/a “La Guera” a/k/a “Betty,” age 42, all of Albuquerque, N.M.; Alfredo Saenz, age 39, of Rio Rancho, N.M. and Yusimy Valdez a/k/a “Yusimi” a/k/a “Lusimy” and Gavy Lnu, both with unknown ages and residences.

A second indictment charges: Marcos Medina-Zavaleta, age 23, of Hanahan, S.C.; Concepcion Prieto-Juarez, age 29, Alejandra Torricos-Cuellar, age 20, Juan Pablo Valladares-Martinez, age 31 and Gustavo Torricos-Vargas, age 41, all of Charleston, S.C.; Jose Alvarez-Robles, age 30, of Ladson, S.C.; Jorge Alvarez-Chavez, age 32 and Luis Alvarez-Robles, age 22, both of North Charleston, S.C.; Gonzalo Garcia-Gines, age 29, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Salvador Hernandez-Santillan, age 36, of Summerville, S.C.; and Fabian Sanchez-Hernandez, age 32 and Horacio Jasso-Hernandez, age 35, both of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

A third indictment charges: Bulmaro Perez-Perez, age 35, of Doraville, Ga.; Darco Jordan-Tapia, age 32 and Marisol Pantoja-Loredo, age 23, both of Charleston, S.C.; Roberto Trejo-Lopez, age 22 and Arturo Trejo-Lopez, age 18, both of Chantilly, Va.; Ruben Trejo-Lopez, age 24, of Centreville, Va.; Jesus Octaviano-Leyva, age 40, of Charlotte, N.C.; Gabriel Sotelo, age 42, of North Charleston, S.C.; and Jose Luis Hernandez-Delgado, age 28, of Knoxville, Tenn.

The indictments allege conspiracy to transfer false identification documents and to transport illegal aliens; producing and transferring false identification documents; and, transporting illegal aliens. Conspiracy to transfer, and to produce, false identity documents, as well as the transfer and production of those documents, each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. Conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, as well as transporting illegal aliens, both carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The indictments are the result of an investigation conducted by HSI and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams of the Charleston office is prosecuting the case.

Bridgeport Attorneys Counsel Family Divided By Deportation, Speak Out Against Federal Program Targeting Illegal Immigrants

M.C. Law Group immigration attorneys Alex Meyerovich and Amy Morilla Miller met recently with the Molina family of Stamford, which has been experiencing firsthand the painful effects of being separated from a loved one by the barriers of immigration law enforcement.

With the introduction of the federal immigration regulation program Secure Communities — that was recently put into effect statewide in Connecticut — there may be more families sharing the Molinas’ pain.

Secure Communities unites the resources of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and local law enforcement in order to more effectively identify, detain, and remove criminal and/or illegal aliens. The program was launched in 2008 and was implemented statewide in Connecticut earlier this year. The program is scheduled to be in effect nationwide by 2013.

Under the Secure Communities program, any set of fingerprints taken by local law enforcement will automatically be sent first to the FBI for a criminal record check, and next to ICE for an immigration status check. If the database checks reveal a match to a
criminal record and/or an illegal or “otherwise removable” immigration status, the individual will be immediately detained and subject to deportation proceedings.

According to the program’s records, since October 2011 alone, Secure Communities has removed over 110,000 criminal aliens, including 39,500 removals of criminal aliens convicted for aggravated felony abuses such as murder, rape, and child sex abuse.

Despite the program’s success in detaining and removing serious criminal alien offenders, it conversely has the ability to remove aliens with no criminal record whatsoever. Attorney Alex Meyerovich, who opposes the program, argues that the ability for local law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants for minor offenses, which can result in their deportation, represents an overzealous and unnecessary extension of ICE’s power. Meyerovich and other critics of the program point to this and more potentially negative side effects of the program as major flaws of Secure Communities.

“On the surface, Secure Communities sounds like a very reasonable program. But what it means in reality is that every time an alien comes in contact with the police, they will have an increased fear of deportation,” said Meyerovich. “This fear means there will be a decreased incentive to talk to the police, which means crime — and more specifically, domestic abuse situations and traffic accidents — is less likely to be reported by immigrant communities.”

In addition to underreported crime, Meyerovich argues that the uniform deportation of non-criminal aliens — often with established lives, businesses, and families in the U.S. — is another detrimental side effect of Secure Communities, and one that has the potential to rip many families apart.

“It’s completely absurd,” said Meyerovich. “An alien can live here for years, pay American taxes, work in or start an American business, and have American spouses and children, but with Secure Communities, one encounter with local law enforcement can potentially mean a non-negotiable ticket back home.”

The Molina family knows the pain of a family member being deported all too well. Meyerovich and fellow M.C. Law Group attorney Amy Morilla Miller represent the family in their attempts to return Sandra Payes-Chacon — wife of U.S. citizen Rony Molina, and mother to U.S. citizen children Evelin, 19, Alex, 11, and Ronald, 8 — to her home in Connecticut.

Payes-Chacon was detained and deported to her native country Guatemala in 2010, and is now barred from entering the U.S. for ten years. All of the family’s legal attempts to rectify her situation — including a request for humanitarian parole sent to the Department of Homeland Security — have been denied.

In her absence, Rony Molina and his children must continue to endure the heartbreaking reality of being cut off from their wife and mother for ten years. Payes-Chacon herself is suffering from severe depression due to the separation.

“The children really need the presence of their mother,” said attorney Morilla Miller of the Molinas’ situation. “This family is being divided unnecessarily.”

Although Payes-Chacon’s deportation did not occur because of Secure Communities, critics caution that as the program continues to expand, cases like the Molina family’s will become more frequent. What troubles Morilla Miller about this prospect is the  unsympathetic attitude that she increasingly sees towards these unnecessary deportations.

“Some people might want to dismiss what this family is going through, and say that the husband and children should just pick up and move to Guatemala, but that’s ridiculous,” said Morilla Miller. “Her husband is a U.S. citizen. Her children are U.S. citizens, born and raised here like any American child. Guatemala is not only a foreign country to them, but one with poor employment and educational prospects, limited access to medical resources, and one of the worst crime rates. What American would want to raise their family in an
environment like that?”

As Secure Communities gets closer to its goal of nationwide implementation by 2013, debates over immigration reform and the rights of immigrants are sure to intensify. The rights of illegal immigrants is a hotly contested issue among politicians and American
citizens alike, with many arguing for stricter immigration regulation and harsher consequences for those who enter the country illegally.

However, Morilla Miller fervently opposes such measures, and sees the current debate over illegal immigration as blatantly ignoring America’s storied history of welcoming immigrants.

“America was founded on the scores of immigrants who came to this country in pursuit of a better life, ” Morilla Miller said. “At some point, virtually every American citizen’s
ancestors were immigrants. So what’s the point of fighting for the rights of immigrants
to stay in this country? You. If someone had turned away your immigrant ancestors, then you wouldn’t be here either.”

Canadian Alien Smuggler Sentenced

A Canadian man has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after pleading guilty to alien smuggling. The sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Donald Murray Gallaher, 55, of Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada, pleaded guilty to the charges Jan. 5, 2012, in Syracuse, N.Y. He was sentenced March 20, 2012.

Gallaher was arrested July 22, 2011, after he entered the United States through the U.S.
port of entry in Fort Covington, N.Y. Shortly after he entered the United States, his two
accomplices, Ross Brian James and John Duder — both Canadian citizens — were
detected after they illegally entered the United States.

It was discovered that James was carrying two loaded firearms — registered to Gallaher — at the time of his arrest. Duder pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering the United States without inspection, and was sentenced to time served Aug. 2, 2011.

James pleaded guilty to the illegal importation of firearms and was sentenced to one
year in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was sentenced Feb. 22, 2012.

“Targeting smugglers is a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations,” said
Nick DiNicola, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Albany. “As smugglers have shown time and time again, they have no qualms about putting their clients and our New York
communities at risk in hopes of turning a profit. This sentence should serve as reminder to smugglers: law enforcement will continue to pursue you from Rouses Point to the Rio Grande Valley.”

The investigation was conducted by HSI, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie S. Pfluger, Northern District of New York.