The empathy with illegal aliens editorial
This editorial lacks logic. If you follow what appears to be the Times logic you would release Al Capone for failing to pay income tax on his stolen wealth.
The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in the case of an illegal immigrant who provided an employer with phony identification numbers. The court must decide whether he can be convicted of the crime of aggravated identity theft — which carries a heavy mandatory prison sentence — even though he did not know the numbers belonged to specific people.
This is a case about the misapplication of federal law. It also is a case about unequal justice. The government is misusing the identity theft law to pressure illegal immigrants to agree to quick deportation.
Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, purchased a forged Social Security card and a permanent resident card bearing his name and false identification numbers in Chicago. When he submitted those documents at his job in East Moline, Ill., his employer reported him to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which determined that the numbers belonged to other people. There is no evidence those people were harmed.
Mr. Flores-Figueroa pleaded guilty to misuse of immigration documents and illegal entry into the United States. He pleaded not guilty to aggravated identity theft, saying that he didn’t know that the ID numbers belonged to anyone. He was convicted and sentenced to 51 months of imprisonment for the crimes for which he pleaded guilty, and an additional mandatory two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft. Mr. Flores-Figueroa is asking the Supreme Court to reverse his identity-theft conviction, arguing that the law does not apply to his actions.The federal aggravated identity theft statute is aimed at the most serious forms of identity theft — and it says the theft must be done knowingly. Congress wanted to punish those who take the identities of other people to do them harm, typically by trying to drain their bank accounts. Mr. Figueroa did not have the intent necessary to violate this law. He was guilty of identity fraud — a separate, and lesser, crime.
As for the argument about "knowingly" the guy knew what he was doing was wrong and knew that he was using a social security number that was not his. What I find strange about the Times attitude is their concern that a guy obviously in the country illegally might be sent home sooner as a result of this statute. I can't find a thing wrong with that. Why should he be allowed to stay an additional minute? When it comes to the rule of law, the Times lets its empathy for illegals get in the way justice.