Acting Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a new policy on Wednesday designed to protect illegal aliens who have committed additional crimes from being deported.
The policy aims to minimize the number of illegal alien criminals who end up facing deportation by encouraging prosecutors to charge them with lower-level offenses — allowing them to fly under the radar of immigration authorities.
“For example, a plea to a misdemeanor trespass may be offered when appropriate instead of a misdemeanor drug offense.”
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As the local newspaper, the Brooklyn Eagle, reports, the Brooklyn DA “has hired two immigration attorneys to train all staff on immigration issues and to advise prosecutors when making plea offers and sentencing recommendations on cases of non-citizen defendants in an effort to avoid disproportionate collateral consequences, such as deportation.”
The policy states that “all staff must be alert to a defendant’s possible non-citizen status. If such possibility exists, the assistant district attorney must flag that fact to defense counsel and note that immigration consequences may be an issue.”
It also encourages assistant DAs to “consider alternative offenses the defendant can plead to as well as reasonable modifications to the sentence recommendation” in order to “reach an immigration-neutral disposition.”
“I am committed to equal and fair justice for all Brooklyn residents — citizens, lawful residents and undocumented immigrants alike,” Gonzalez said in an official statement. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that a conviction, especially for a minor offense, does not lead to unintended and severe consequences like deportation, which can be unfair, tear families apart, and destabilize our communities and businesses,” Gonzalez insisted.
Of course, deportation of illegal aliens is not fair or unfair: It is law.
“In Brooklyn, we have been proactive in protecting immigrants from fraud and hate crimes and now, with the unprecedented hiring of immigration attorneys and the implementation of this policy, we continue to lead on this important issue,” Gonzales said, conflating legal and illegal immigration by referring only to “immigrants” — not distinguishing between legal and illegal immigrants.
“I want to emphasize that our office is not seeking to frustrate the federal government’s function of protecting our country by removing non-citizens whose illegal acts have caused real harm and endangered others,” Gonzalez concluded dishonestly. “Rather, our goal is to enhance public safety and fairness in the criminal justice system and this policy complements, but does not compromise, this goal,” he asserted.
But it’s difficult to see how Gonzalez can make such a claim when the new policy effectively forces Brooklyn ADAs to serve as radical illegal-immigration advocates.
Indeed, the very policy itself provides an example that appears to belie Gonzalez’s claim that he is “not seeking to frustrate the federal government’s function of protecting our country by removing non-citizens whose illegal acts have caused real harm and endangered others.”
“In certain instances, it may be appropriate to offer a non-citizen defendant a plea for a lesser offense in light of the disproportionate immigration consequences a higher-level offense may result in,” the policy states. “For example, a plea to a misdemeanor trespass may be offered when appropriate instead of a misdemeanor drug offense.”
An illegal alien arrested for a misdemeanor drug offense could be easily a drug dealer, hardly a harmless profession, and could also quite possibly be a member of a larger, more dangerous criminal enterprise.
Some misdemeanor drug offenses in New York include the criminal possession and sale of marijuana both in the fourth and fifth degrees, the criminal retention of medical marijuana, the criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, and criminal possession of methamphetamine-manufacturing material in the second degree.