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Immigration Nation: Holes In The ICE

Perhaps you have heard by now the story of Jessica Colotl, a senior law student from Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Good grades. Sorority girl. Aspiring lawyer.

What's wrong with that?

Well. Turns out, Jessica is an illegal alien.

Now, the liberal media and pro-illegal alien organizations have taken up her defense, attempting to paint her as a living martyr: Just a poor kid who has gotten caught up in the unfair system of immigration laws where an immigrant is actually expected to come here legally.

Some quick background information about poor Jessica's situation:

She was brought here from Mexico by her illegal alien parents when she was 11 years old.

Somehow, she was able to enroll in and attend public school, after which she was accepted into KSU as an in-state tuition student (In-state-tuition is much cheaper than out-of-state.).

In a stunning turn of coincidence, as of April 2010, her tuition status at the school has been changed to out-of-state.

From cnn.com:

"Colotl's legal problems started in late March (2010) when her car was stopped on the Kennesaw State campus. Born in Mexico but living in the United States since she was 11, she could not produce a driver's license, so she handed over as identification an expired passport from Mexico.

She was arrested the next day and turned over to immigration officials. She spent more than a month in the Etowah Detention Center in Alabama."

"In a statement Wednesday night, Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren said, "Ms. Colotl knew that she was in the United States without authority to be here and voluntarily chose to operate a vehicle without a driver's license, which is a violation of Georgia law. She has further complicated her situation with her blatant disregard for Georgia law by giving false information."

(That false information was providing sheriff's officers with an incorrect current address. It's tough to actually know where you live.)

As for the use of the ICE program, he said, "I value any tool that helps me enforce the law and remove violators from our community."

Sheriff Warren is doing his job correctly. Damn raaaaaaaacist thug!

So, she is an illegal alien. She actually got caught. She was driving without a license (She doesn't have one. The article tries to sugarcoat it by stating she simply "could not produce" one.) . Her passport has expired. She gave false information to the police.

Sounds like great lawyer material to me.

She is now, predictably, represented pro-bono by the ACLU, attorney Chris Taylor, immigration attorney Charles Kuck, Mary Bauer-legal director of the mega-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, and Charles Kuck, an immigration lawyer and a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Senorita Cototl was arrested under a program called 287(g).

From Foxnews.com:

"The Cobb County Sheriff's Office participates in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program--called 287(g) -- that allows local law enforcement agents to (GASP!) enforce federal immigration laws. Cobb County authorities turned the student over to ICE on April 1 and she was taken to a detention center in Alabama."

Ms. Cototl's legal team has now taken to demonizing Sheriff Warren and the law which legally allowed his office to arrest her. (Astounding that it takes a special law to allow law enforcement the latitude to arrest someone committing a blatant illegal act.)

"But the band of lawyers and advocates who rallied around Colotl say Cobb County is abusing its power. In a joint statement Thursday night, they voiced outrage over Colotl's treatment and suggested that the felony charge is trumped-up.

"It is obvious from all the documents that I've seen that she has done nothing wrong and has given her proper address to Cobb County and immigration officials," said Chris Taylor, Colotl's criminal attorney. "There has been no crime committed."

The Cobb Immigrant Alliance likened the actions of officials to "schoolyard bullying." Gonzalez, of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, called the sheriff "Wild-West Warren," saying he "has abused his authority in this case. His actions clearly demonstrate the problems that occur when local law officers are granted authority to enforce immigration laws."

"Sheriff Warren has embarked on a witch hunt, wasting money and county resources for political gain," said Adelina Nicholls of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. "This is not about public safety."

"I do not believe it is illegal for them to attend college in the U.S.," he said.

Aye carumba!.

From yahoo.com:

"Colotl and her lawyers were flanked by about a dozen representatives from civil liberties and immigrant rights groups at Friday's news conference. They called for ICE to revoke the Cobb County Sheriff's Office's participation in a program known as 287(g), which allows local law enforcement agents to help enforce federal immigration laws. "We are calling for an immediate termination of the 287(g) agreement in Cobb County," said Azadeh Shahshahani of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, adding that her office has contacted the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, and the U.S. Department of Justice, asking them to look into Cobb County's use of the program."

"Jessica's case is yet another outrageous example of the unaccountable local enforcement of immigration laws in Cobb County gone awry," said Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia's national security/immigrants' rights project director.

From The New York Times:

"Labeling the program a "civil rights disaster," Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it "leads to racial profiling, distracts police from looking for real criminals and destroys families."

She also called upon Obama to stop the use of 287(g).

Inverting blame and blurting out slanderous sound bites against law enforcement officials operating under a fully legal set of rules is not shocking, considering the American-hating, leftist, Alinsky-like radicals representing this criminal.

They chose to disregard the fact that Ms. Colotl was not stopped for violating immigration law or by racial profiling. She was stopped for numerous driving violations, which, fortunately led to the discovery that she is in this country illegally.

Obtaining a qoute from Jessica's illegal-alien mother, she said the following:

"They never thought that this would happen," says Colotl's mother.

Jessica's mother spoke through an interpreter. She hid her face because she's also here illegally.

She says that "it would be fair for Jessica to come out finish her school then go back to Mexico. She wants is Jessica to finish her dream and finish her education -- to happen here since this is where she started."

Uh, perdóname, madre, but what is fair would be for you and your illegal daughter to be held accountable for knowingly violating the laws of the country, and paying the necessary price for your life, which has been based completely on criminal activity.

(There has been no mention of the father, except that he came to the country illegally, as well.)

The fruit don't fall far, huh?

"Jessica may not have the documents that show that she's an American citizen, but she's an American," Taylor said. "She's an American in her heart because she believes in the values of this country."

In front of the crowd that gathered Friday, he said of his client, "She has not failed us. We have failed her. The system has failed her."

"U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, whose district includes Kennesaw, said Colotl's case demonstrates that federal immigration laws need to be strengthened.

"Jessica Colotl has undoubtedly met with success since coming to the United States," he said in a statement. "However, her successes since arriving here illegally must not influence which of our laws are applicable to her. Simply put, the law is the law and it is unfortunate that her parents put her in this position by bringing her here illegally as a child."

As for Ms. Cototl's reaction to her situation, she seems not to understand that there may, in fact, be consequenses for one's illegal actions.

From The AP:

"I just hope for the best and I hope that something positive comes out of this because we really need a reform to fix this messed up system.

I really believe that something positive should come out of this, probably an immigration reform or at least the DREAM Act," she said.

Continuing:

"I never thought that I'd be caught up in this messed-up system," Ms. Colotl said Friday at a news conference after being released on $2,500 bail. "I was treated like a criminal, like a threat to the nation."

Her ultimate goal, Ms. Colotl said at the news conference, is that proposed legislation called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act -- known as the Dream Act -- will become law, providing students without legal immigration status a path to become legal.

(Right. We are led to believe that this is something she is familiar enough with to call it her "goal," yet, she can't even figure out which address to give a sheriff's officer when she gets stopped with no driver's liscence.)

The president of KSU has his fingerprints all over this issue, lobbying for Cototl's release and re-instatement to the school.

From Fox News:

"ICE released Colotl last week and deferred action on her case for a year, allowing her to complete her classes.

"We are especially thrilled that she will be allowed to continue her studies here at KSU," Kennesaw State president Daniel Papp said in a statement after Colotl was released.

Americans for Immigration Control, a group that calls for strict enforcement of immigration reform, has called for Papp's firing.

Spokesman Phil Kent said Papp violated state policy by granting in-state tuition to an illegal immigrant.

"Our colleges must not be turned into sanctuaries for illegal immigrants who make no effort to return to their home countries and initiate the required paperwork to study here legally," he said.

Kennesaw State has said that Colotl was admitted as an in-state student because she graduated from a Georgia high school."

After hearing about Colotl's case, Republican candidate for governor Eric Johnson called on the Board of Regents, which oversees the state's university system, to make citizenship verification a part of the admissions process.

"For us to allow an illegal immigrant to take a taxpayer subsidized spot in our University system away from a legal resident is wrong," said Johnson said, a former state senator.

"Simply checking a box on a form is not enough--we should ask prospective students to provide verifiable proof of their immigration status," he added.

Amazing that this even needs to be said.


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Comments (15)

"ICE released Colotl last w... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"ICE released Colotl last week and deferred action on her case for a year, allowing her to complete her classes."

So what government bureaucrat decided to ignore the law? IIRC, isn't there also a provision in the law that punishes those in authority who REFUSE to follow established laws?

Funny thing, THE LAW DOESN'T WORK, IF YOU DON'T ENFORCE IT.

As for those knee-jerk freaking liberals, what else do you expect from them? Besides BULLSHIT? The woman got stopped for a traffic violation. She probably gave her name and date-of-birth.....they ran it and could not come up with a license number in their data base. Another violation.

Things would be so much simpler if these asshat liberals would just provide the rest of us with a LIST of all the laws illegals can violate. Would save everyone a lot of time and money.

"She's an American... (Below threshold)
Marc:
"She's an American in her heart because she believes in the values of this country."
Except for the part about getting a partial college education at the cut-rate price afforded her via paying in-state tuition as opposed to out-of-state tuition.

That "value" is vastly different MeThinks.

And BTW in-state and out-of-state tuition is vastly different. PDF file.

Example:

Summer classes under graduate in-state (1 credit) $756 out-of-state $1155

Summer classes under graduate in-state (15 credits) $2620 out-of-state $8608.

"Stupid" question: Will she re-pay the Georgia Gov. what she in effect stole from the local tax payers?

I wonder how Ms. Cototl can... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

I wonder how Ms. Cototl can demonstrate her responsibility to provide liability insurance for the vehicle she was illegally driving. Can't, because she couldn't get insurance without a drivers' license. Try getting caught without insurance in Georgia or any other state. Heavy fines, loss of driving privileges and potentially jail time. It's the law.

I'm sure that Cototl and her mother would be happy to establish their residency by providing their tax returns for all the years since they came here illegally. Got none? In fact, she's been living off the taxes other people have had to pay. Try not filing tax returns for 10 years and see what it gets you: time in prison for multiple felonies. It's the law.

Or prove their contribution to their community by proving that they paid property taxes in all the public school systems they used. Oh, can't? In fact, taxpayers have footed the bill for all the public services provided by her community. Try enrolling your kid in another, more upscale school system by providing a convenience address to establish residence and see what happens. It's the law.

Or help ICE prosecute all the employers that broke the law by providing cash-only jobs to illegal aliens, which as our politicians love to tell us whenever the subject comes up, are the "real" problem with illegal immigration. Won't? Try getting caught hiring off-the-books illegal immigrants without filing the proper payroll tax returns. You'll lose your business and potentially go to prison. It's the law.

Or voluntarily repay the state for the subsidy they fraudulently received as "in-state" tuition. Money that should have gone to the legal immigrant who was turned away because her spot on the racial preferences list was filled. It's the law.

"Jessica may not have the documents that show that she's an American citizen, but she's an American," Taylor said.

Uh, no she's not, Mr. Taylor. She's spent half of her life breaking the law every day she's here. Laws that legal immigrants and American citizens are expected to follow or pay the price. Complaining that she "wants" to continue her education doesn't have a damned thing to do with it. Our military is full of people who "want" to be back on the street, doing whatever it is they do back in the world.

In fact, our politicians expect us to completely ignore the laws they themselves passed. It would be helpful to see a list of the other laws Congress doesn't really expect to enforce, for no other reason than to let us in on the joke.

It's a zero sum game, or less, and it's about opportunity cost. Every public service, every tax dollar, every cash-only job she ever took, cost us something. The fact that she's "nice" and "really sorry" is irrelevant. She could also be a vicious drug dealer, but that would ruin the narrative. Multiply that by 20 million illegal aliens that the federal government gives lip service to and pretty soon, it adds up to real money.

Enforcing the law is not optional. We either enforce the laws or we don't. Our legal system does not survive by enforcing some laws and winking at others. It rots the foundation of our country from within like carpenter ants.

Here's a harsh idea: Charge every illegal immigrant caught in this country, or attempting to illegally enter the country, a special "user fee" and use the money to finish the damned fence. Offer each willing, able bodied worker a temporary working visa long enough to work on its construction, and pay them a fair wage to do it, as long as they are willing to pay the payroll and income taxes the rest of us have to pay. Hell, let their kids go to school and receive free medical care as long as they are employed and are willing to help pay for it. Hell, provide room and board in the deal.

But when the job is done, the visa ends and they go to the back of the legal immigration line, behind the millions of other "nice people" who have legally applied for entry and are willing to follow the law.

Sorry for the long post.

You should be sorry for tha... (Below threshold)

You should be sorry for that long comment, bobdog, because I'm thinking of stealing part of it for a full posting. Basically, I had half of an article composed in my head while reading Chon's piece, then noticed you'd already said a good chunk of it. I still might do it.

J.

This story hits home for me... (Below threshold)
Eric:

This story hits home for me in a couple of ways. First, I live a stone's throw away from KSU. Second, I have three daughters and my oldest is just a few years away from college.

I do okay financially, but it is going to be very hard to pay for college for three kids. I have spent my entire life playing by the rules. I have worked long hard hours in a lot of crap jobs paying taxes all the way. Yes even doing some of those jobs that "only" illegals will do.

It pisses me off that some kid who is here illegally and whose parents haven't been paying into the system might get a spot in college and one of my daughters doesn't.

The other place this story hits home for me is that my wife and daughter were recently in a car accident where another driver ran a red light and totalled my wife's car. My 7yr old daughter came out of it with a broken hip and my wife was majorly bruised up and looked beaten even with seat belts and air bags.

The other driver was an illegal immigrant, didn't have a license and of course no insurance. Our insurance is covering it, but I expect my rates will still go up as a result.

I got the privilege of spending the weekend in the hospital with my daughter as they watched to make sure she didn't have internal injuries, (she didn't). I now have to pay all of the hospitalization co-pays and I had to take on a new car payment that I hadn't planned on.

Now, the fortunate thing is that neither of my other daughters was in the car. If EITHER of them had been in the car, I believe it would have been a fatal accident.

But it pisses me off that I pay personal property taxes and insurance for three cars, and yet this girl Jessica was driving around without a license and insurance. Who gets to foot the bill if she causes an accident? The victim.

Jay Tea, I was about to com... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Jay Tea, I was about to comment back that it doesn't look like this topic has legs, but then I read your "Hostages" thread from yesterday.

Have at it, and thanks.

I'm sure that Coto... (Below threshold)
Senor Cardgage:
I'm sure that Cototl and her mother would be happy to establish their residency by providing their tax returns for all the years since they came here illegally. Got none? In fact, she's been living off the taxes other people have had to pay. Try not filing tax returns for 10 years and see what it gets you: time in prison for multiple felonies. It's the law.

I found nothing in these stories that would lead me to believe that your supposition is correct. Millions of undocumented workers are able to file income tax returns and have FICA, Federal and State income tax withheld from their paychecks using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

By the way, it's only a requirement to file a tax return if one has taxable income above the set thresholds. If you're owed a refund, you won't face any penalty for not filing, but you can lose the opportunity to recoup your excess withholding.

It's also unlikely that failure to file would ever result in a jail sentence for anyone who's not as famous as Wesley Snipes or James Brown. Setting one such high-profile example reaps more benefit for the Treasury by encouraging others to come clean (and pay all those juicy penalties and interest!) than could ever be gained by jailing the millions of non-filing scofflaws currently roaming our streets.

I wouldn't be too hard on h... (Below threshold)
James H:

I wouldn't be too hard on her for coming here at the age of 11 as an illegal immigrant. After all, she was 11 and had little choice in the matter. But remaining here after the age of 18? No dice.

At 18, she legally became an adult, responsible for her own actions. If Ms. Colotl and her backers want to lobby for a law that grants her and those similarly situated a path to citizenship, fine. That's their right. Petition and redress of grievances and all that.

Otherwise, she should have either left the country or pursued whatever avenues toward legal residency were available to her. Fine.

From the other side: The NYT, briefly, raises the issue of racial profiling. If the local law-enforcement authorities are using traffic stops and the immigration-enforcement program as pretexts to harass and/or discriminate against the Hispanic community, then they should, of course, be investigated.

But that issue is entirely separate from the issue of an illegal immigrant's residency status.

Senor Cardgage,"Mi... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Senor Cardgage,

"Millions of undocumented workers are able to file income tax returns and have FICA, Federal and State income tax withheld from their paychecks using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)."

In 2006, it was only 1.4 million. That doesn't equal 'millions'. Further, the ITIN is set up for aliens to file tax returns for passive income, NOT salary and wage income. Having an ITIN does NOT give you the right to work in the US.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Taxpayer_Identification_Number

"By the way, it's only a requirement to file a tax return if one has taxable income above the set thresholds."

Completely irrelevant. Are you saying that in all the years since they came to this country (it has to be at least 14 years ago) the mother NEVER earned above the threshold to be required to file a tax return? Rediculous!

"It's also unlikely that failure to file would ever result in a jail sentence for anyone who's not as famous as Wesley Snipes or James Brown."

You try not filing a tax return for 10 years and see if the IRS CID doesn't come after you...

I'm thinking we need to col... (Below threshold)
DJ:

I'm thinking we need to collocate the ICE offices with the various US embassies around the world.

In the country illegally? Once the country of origin is determined, you're on a plane to the ICE office in that country to file your petitions and grievances there.

Mr. Zappa's Alter Ego,... (Below threshold)
Senor Cardgage:

Mr. Zappa's Alter Ego,

"In 2006, it was only 1.4 million. That doesn't equal 'millions'."

I was trying to measure the entirety of those with ITINs who could file Federal and State income tax returns AND who have payroll and other taxes withheld from their paychecks. I grant that the 2006 Federal filers numbered a mere 1.4M. But, if you insist that I confine my remarks to Federal filers only, and you're certain it can't possibly be more than two million by now, over three years later, mentally correct my sentence to read "Over one million" if that makes your pants fit better.

"Are you saying that in all the years since they came to this country (it has to be at least 14 years ago) the mother NEVER earned above the threshold to be required to file a tax return? Rediculous!"

No, I'm not saying that at all; I make no assumptions about the family's income. I'm just pointing out the specific limitations of the IRS's reach regarding failure to file. Sorry, it's a curse of my profession to be precise.

"You try not filing a tax return for 10 years and see if the IRS CID doesn't come after you..."

Again, we have a failure to communicate; my remarks spoke to the likelihood of bobdog's assertion that a jail term would be imposed for failure to file. There's little value to locking up Joe Average; the Feds just want their money. Jailing a celebrity provides excellent ROI; locking up schlubs like you and me y el hombre detrás del árbol, not so much.

Senor, you're probably righ... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Senor, you're probably right. 80% doesn't encompass everybody, but it's fair to say it's generally true. As I recall, you you can skip filing a tax return if your gross income "from whatever source derived" does not exceed $600.00. Even if you have a refund or a subsidy due you, it seems like you're still required to file, but maybe I'm wrong. Does the federal tax code still say that? It's true enough that the IRS is not going to prosecute a non-filing taxpayer if they owe no tax. But if you do, and the amount is substantial over those 10 years, get lawyered up, because they'll be coming after you.

Are all taxpayers who earn more than a paperboy required to have a social security card and pay withholding taxes on their income? Medicare taxes? State income taxes? I wonder how much tax revenue is involved with 20 million people.

There's another aspect to this that I didn't mention, because it's kinda beside the point. Illegals often, if not generally, live under the radar, on cash income, and they get screwed every day by unscrupulous employers who know full well that they're doing it, and most of them don't collect withholdings or report the payroll taxes due. Who's going to complain, with immediate unemployment and possible deportation around the corner?

These folks are victims who are exploited with slave wages for honest work, illegal though it may be. They live their lives on the edge, one step away from food stamps, the emergency room, and financial ruin. Frankly, it isn't fair to their families, even though they're breaking the law.

As I recall, you y... (Below threshold)
Senor Cardgage:
As I recall, you you can skip filing a tax return if your gross income "from whatever source derived" does not exceed $600.00.

If you can't be claimed as a dependent, I believe the current threshold for a single filer is gross income of $9,350 for those under 65 and $10,750 if 65+. Higher thresholds for MFJ, HOH and Qualifying Widow(er) but much lower for MFS ($3,650).

Even if you have a refund or a subsidy due you, it seems like you're still required to file, but maybe I'm wrong.

There's no penalty for not filing if you're owed a refund or tax credit, but if you don't file within three years I think it is, you forfeit your reimbursement. The IRS can't force you to claim your own money.

Senor, I think you're mostl... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Senor, I think you're mostly right. But regardless of your gross income, you must file a 2009 Form 1040 if you are in any of the following situations:

(skipping a bunch of crap)

* You had net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more for 2009.

Since illegal aliens are unlikely to be listed as employees by unscrupulous employers looking to dodge payroll taxes, the IRS would probably be argue that all such unreported income is self-employment income. And I think that where identity fraud is used to hide income, the IRS gets kinda particular.

I don't know where all this leads, in the larger context of this discussion. Suffice to say that of necessity, statistically few illegal aliens report income to the IRS.

I'm not a CPA, but...Hey! Wait a minute! I AM a CPA! (Not bragging, either. I had to look this stuff up. I don't do my own tax returns either. I keep getting lost about 58,000 pages into the frickin' tax code. But that's a subject for a different day.)

Since illegal alie... (Below threshold)
Senor Cardgage:
Since illegal aliens are unlikely to be listed as employees by unscrupulous employers looking to dodge payroll taxes

Yes, an unscrupulous employer is unlikely to file a W2 for someone he's paying under the table. I do have my doubts that the majority of undocumented workers are being paid off the books, however. The Social Security Administration's own estimate is that over 70% of illegal workers pay FICA taxes.

Suffice to say that of necessity, statistically few illegal aliens report income to the IRS.

I'm not sure what you mean by "of necessity" - the IRS doesn't check immigration status. While many undocumented workers may be fearful of drawing any government attention by filing, it's not a one-way ticket to deportation by any stretch. Some who do file taxes hope that complying with the law on this score will reflect favorably on them as they try to obtain legal status. Yeah, good luck with that, guys.




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