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Tougher Penalties For Undocumented Immigrants Caught At Sea

Audio

Aired 3/22/11

People caught crossing into the U.S. illegally by sea face tougher penalties. Officials hope it helps prevent migrants from dying.

Smuggling people and marijuana from Mexico to San Diego by sea has become a new trend in the western-most corner of the border. Authorities caught twice as many boats last year compared to the previous one. There's no way to know how many more vessels slipped through.

Now, U.S. Border Patrol officials say they'll deport anyone caught entering illegally by sea. Deportation means violators could be charged with a felony and prison time if they're caught again.

Steve Pitts, a Border Patrol spokesman, said they hope the stiffer penalty deters migrants.

"The chances for those boats capsizing out there is extremely high. And we're trying to prevent death, so we're trying to deter people," said Pitts.

Two migrants drowned in San Diego last year. U.S. and Mexican civil-rights groups and researchers estimate more than 6,000 people have died crossing over land in the last 15 years.

Border researchers Wayne Cornelius and David Fitzgerald at the University of California-San Diego, who interviewed thousands of would-be migrants in Mexico, found that knowing someone who died crossing the border does not dissuade people from trying themselves. The researchers also discovered that tougher border enforcement does little to deter migrants.

Comments

Avatar for user 'PortTabacco'

PortTabacco | March 22, 2011 at 5:37 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

If our rogue government wanted to stop or curb illegal immigration, they would impose tougher penalties for illegally crossing our borders!
Not only coming from the sea. Crossing our borders illegally should result in a felony. Look at how much illegal aliens cost the American taxpayer! BILLIONS!
Forget the murder of Americans every day at the hands of illegal aliens.

Illegal aliens are a disaster for the American citizen.

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