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Because our government has decided to ignore a great number of immigration violations, a "rogues' gallery of criminal illegal aliens" are now in our nation.

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The High Cost of Ignoring Immigration Violations

Because our government has decided to ignore a great number of immigration violations, a “rogues’ gallery of criminal illegal aliens” are now in our nation.

The taxpayers of Oregon can now plan to fund the life imprisonment of a brutal, illegal alien who raped two Catholic nuns and murdered one. The 33-year-old criminal alien from Mexico, Maximiliano Silerio Esparza, copped execution by pleading guilty.

The taxpayers of Brownsville, Tex., can expect to cough up money to jail and try a Mexican citizen-it’s unreported whether she’s an illegal or legal immigrant-who, along with her common-law husband, murdered their three children. Texans must pay for the costs of both prosecutors and publicly appointed defense lawyers.

Maria Angela Camacho and John Allen Rubio reportedly confessed to strangling and decapitating their 2-1 ¼2-month-old daughter, 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

Criminal aliens strain America’s law enforcement and criminal justice resources on a daily basis. America’s state and local police come into daily contact with alien lawbreakers as officers go about their duties.

These aliens run the gamut-from border hoppers who work under the table to terrorists to visa overstayers to gangsters who traffic in illegal immigrants, drugs, prostitutes and weapons.

Police officers come into occasional contact with them. They stop them for routine traffic violations, notice unusual, suspicious behavior or capture them shoplifting or committing another crime.

September 11 terrorist Mohammed Atta was ticketed for driving without a license in Broward County, Fla., in the spring of 2001. Atta had abused his temporary visa by not leaving after its expiration, but local cops didn’t know.

A Tulsa, Okla., sheriff’s deputy stopped a van on Interstate 244 the night of July 17, 2002. In addition to missing a taillight, the deputy found 18 Mexican illegal aliens.

Bringing state and local law enforcement to bear in nabbing alien lawbreakers could help get the violators off American streets, send them back to their own countries and relieve American taxpayers. Almost 700,000 police officers walk the beats and patrol the streets.

Presently, about three of every 10 foreign-born persons are illegal aliens. And the foreign-born share of the U.S. population stands at more than 11%.

Illegal immigration is a crime that too often goes unpunished, and as a result often becomes a “precursor crime” to other violations of law.

At a minimum, laxity toward illegal immigration has led to a vast network where aliens, including terrorists and their sympathizers, can thrive undetected.

Meanwhile, the borders themselves remain porous. Criminals, smugglers, terrorists and other lawbreakers frequently cross it illegally. This despite the fact that the vast majority of Border Patrol agents man the border.

The interior has very little federal enforcement presence because the federal immigration service has just 2,000 special agents for the whole country.

A holdover Clinton Administration policy continues concerning interior enforcement. It operates on the “we’ll make it a little tougher for you to sneak across the border, but once inside our country, we won’t touch you” theory.

What have been the consequences of keeping local cops on the sidelines in the enforcement of immigration violations?

A virtual rogues’ gallery of criminal illegal aliens has successfully made it into this country. It includes Ingmar Guandique, the suspected killer of Chandra Levy; Lee Malvo, the suspected Washington, D.C., sniper; four homeless Mexicans accused of brutally gang-raping a woman in New York last December; Rafael Resendez Ramirez, the serial “Railroad Killer;” and Mohammed Salameh, a 1993 World Trade Center conspirator/bomber.

Millions of nondescript illegal aliens provide the infrastructure by which the worst ones move about undetected. Run-of-the-mill Latin American illegal aliens assisted some of the September 11 hijackers, helping them to exploit loopholes and fraudulently obtain driver’s licenses.

All this comes at a cost. One study puts the criminal alien prison population at 617,152 at both the federal and state levels. They cost taxpayers about $900 million annually, according to this estimate.

Then there’s the cost in human terms: pain and suffering of victims and survivors, loss of safety and security. And don’t forget undermining of the rule of law, weakening of community, harm to civil society.

To everybody but blinded politicians, anti-American activists and corporatist fatcats, illegal and criminal immigrants pose a tremendous problem. If the homeland is truly to be made secure, then state and local police must help enforce supposedly harmless immigration violations.

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James Edwards is coauthor of "The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform."

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