DHS Chief Napolitano: Illegal Immigration Is Not a Crime

Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 11:26 AM

By Jim Meyers

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stunned many listeners during an appearance on CNN when she asserted that illegal immigration is really not a crime.

In an interview with CNN’s John King last week, Napolitano discussed Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., a strict enforcer of immigration laws who says he wants illegal aliens to be prosecuted and jailed.

King said: “A lot of Democrats in Congress want you to investigate him. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.”

Napolitano responded: “Sheriff Joe … knows that there aren’t enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.

“What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.

“And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.”

The fact is, crossing the border without authorization is a crime. The statute reads: “Any alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers . . . shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.”

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