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house Bill H.R. 1645

Extending Prison Terms for Crimes Committed by Unauthorized Immigrants Who Illegally Reentered the U.S.

Argument in favor

Unauthorized immigrants who are deported and illegally reenter the U.S. and subsequently commit crimes that injure or kill Americans should face longer prison terms.

Ronald's Opinion
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06/01/2019
Yes, deport or imprison illegals that commit crime. Do everything possible to stop illegal immigration. Build Our Wall. Support Our President.
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06/01/2019
Yes all illegal migrants need to know they are breaking the law by unauthorized entry into the USA. If we were to increase prison time it would probably deter them from re-entry. The best bet is to build the wall and immediately change our immigration laws.
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Devan's Opinion
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06/01/2019
The more you break the law, the greater the consequences.
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Argument opposed

Increasing prison terms for crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants won’t deter illegal immigration or criminal activity, it’ll only increase federal prison costs.

jimK's Opinion
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06/01/2019
Stupid. This bill has nothing to do with deterrence. It is only proposed to play into Trumps racist border crisis fantasies, which he has created by racist fear mongering that encourages anyone seeking a better life to come now, before all other options are eliminated.
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Rhonda's Opinion
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06/01/2019
This will not prevent crime nor will act as a deterrent instead it will just cost me more tax payer dollars to house and feed these folks. This is not the solution to punish one group in excess of the punishment for others who commit similar crimes.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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06/01/2019
Sounds like the for-profit prison industry is looking for a new source of money. Look, this is just racist. “Aggravating Factors” are not about civil paperwork violations. It’s about circumstance that increases the severity or culpability of a criminal act. Aggravating factors include recidivism, lack of remorse, amount of harm to the victim, or committing the crime in front of a child, and things like that. Not paperwork. This is just formalizing another type of discrimination in our justice system. Not something we need.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1645?

This bill — known as the VOICES Act — would direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to revise its guidelines to make unlawful presence and crimes committed by an unauthorized immigrant who illegally reenters the country aggravating factors for federal crimes. Unauthorized immigrants who unlawfully reenter the country after being deported and injure another person in the course of a crime would face a prison term of 10 to 20 years, while crimes resulting in the death of another person would lead to a sentence of 20 to 40 years. Prison sentences served in state correctional facilities for state crimes wouldn't be allowed to count toward federal sentences.

The VOICES Act’s full title is the Peter, Ellie, and Grayson Victims of Illegal Criminal Entry Act. It’s named after Peter Hacking, a lawful immigrant and volunteer firefighter, and his two children — 4-year old Ellie and 22-month old Grayson were killed an unauthorized immigrant was driving without a license after illegally reentering the U.S. who was sentenced to two years in state prison.

Impact

Unauthorized immigrants convicted for federal crimes; and the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1645

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to address holes in the law that allow unauthorized immigrants to receive overly light punishment for crimes. In a letter to his Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this bill in the current Congress, Rep. Ratcliffe wrote: 

"On March 31, 2016, Peter Hacking, a lawful immigrant to the United States and a volunteer firefighter, picked up his two children, 4-year old Ellie and 22-month old Grayson, on the way back to their home in Lavon, TX. Margarito Quintero Rosales, an illegal alien driving without a drivers license, crashed into their car, killing all three. Rosales received a two year state prison sentence for criminally negligent homicide and was scheduled to be released into ICE custody, and then deported shortly thereafter. Under existing law, his sentence for criminally negligent homicide counted towards his sentence for his crime of illegal reentry following a prior deportation. Furthermore, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. Rojas-Lunas interpreted 8 U.S.C. 1326, the criminal statute that imposes penalties for unlawful reentry, to prohibit consideration of crimes committed after unlawful reentry following a prior deportation. Several changes to existing immigration and criminal sentencing guidelines are needed to ensure that this never happens again. That is why I am reintroducing the VOICES Act, which addresses these existing loopholes in the U.S. Code that allow illegal aliens like Rosales to receive little to no punishment for their crimes... As long as existing gaps in our immigration laws remain in place, there will be more tragedies and loved ones lost. We owe it to the victims’ family members to ensure that criminal illegal aliens do not continue to fall through the cracks of our criminal justice system."

When he introduced this bill last Congress, Rep. Ratcliffe argued it was needed tstrengthen legal punishment for crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants after they’ve illegally reentered the country:

“My heart was broken when I learned about the devastating loss of Peter, Ellie and Grayson. This tragedy was caused by someone who was here illegally in the first place. And worse yet, our current laws allowed him to escape with what equated to no additional punishment on top of his existing sentences. I’m glad my colleagues are joining me in my fight to ensure that future tragedies like this will be properly deterred by stopping illegal criminal aliens from falling through the cracks of our criminal justice system. We owe the victims’ families nothing less.”

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) expressed its support for this bill last Congress: 

"This legislation elevates unlawful presence in the United States to an aggravating factor for any federal criminal offense, and ensures that time served in a state facility will not count towards an existing prison sentence for an immigration-related crime. Essentially, this change would eliminate a loophole that has awarded lighter punishments to illegal aliens by taking advantage of concurrent sentencing guidelines."

President Trump also expressed his support for this bill last Congress. In a speech to Congress, he argued that this bill would help victims of crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants.

Immigrant advocates argue that unauthorized immigration doesn't increase the prevalence or either violent crime or drug and alcohol problems, and contend that such arguments demonize an entire class of people.

This bill has 12 Republican cosponsors in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, this bill had the support of 20 Republican House cosponsors and didn't receive a committee vote.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Gatsi)

AKA

VOICES Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for certain sentencing enhancements relating to illegal reentry offenses, and to clarify the manner in which sentences for such offenses are to be served, and for other purposes.

    Yes, deport or imprison illegals that commit crime. Do everything possible to stop illegal immigration. Build Our Wall. Support Our President.
    Like (63)
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    Stupid. This bill has nothing to do with deterrence. It is only proposed to play into Trumps racist border crisis fantasies, which he has created by racist fear mongering that encourages anyone seeking a better life to come now, before all other options are eliminated.
    Like (172)
    Follow
    Share
    This will not prevent crime nor will act as a deterrent instead it will just cost me more tax payer dollars to house and feed these folks. This is not the solution to punish one group in excess of the punishment for others who commit similar crimes.
    Like (89)
    Follow
    Share
    Sounds like the for-profit prison industry is looking for a new source of money. Look, this is just racist. “Aggravating Factors” are not about civil paperwork violations. It’s about circumstance that increases the severity or culpability of a criminal act. Aggravating factors include recidivism, lack of remorse, amount of harm to the victim, or committing the crime in front of a child, and things like that. Not paperwork. This is just formalizing another type of discrimination in our justice system. Not something we need.
    Like (74)
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    Share
    Lets stop vilifying people just for wanting to make a better life for themselves and their families. Our legal system is already unjust as is.
    Like (50)
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    Yes all illegal migrants need to know they are breaking the law by unauthorized entry into the USA. If we were to increase prison time it would probably deter them from re-entry. The best bet is to build the wall and immediately change our immigration laws.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    This will not deter crime nor illegal immigration. It serves only to make our bloated prison system wealthier. If you want to reduce the numbers of illegals coming to our country, get serious about addressing the root causes of “why” the come in the first place.
    Like (39)
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    The more you break the law, the greater the consequences.
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    How about an extended prison term for trump, McConnell, Ryan and the trump family? Yeah, that’s more like it! 🙂
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    How could I have predicted this would be sponsored by a Republican from Texas before I read the entire bill? Because it’s mean spirited, it does nothing, it’s entirely aimed at brown people, it deters nothing and wastes money. I vote no.
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    Racism and white supremacy are the goals here. No surprise given the author of the bill.
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    This would help protect families living in along the border from violence against them
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    So... we're going to keep them here longer, while providing 3 hots and a cot, plus free medical and dental care? Other than delaying their ability to prey on us, how exactly is this an improvement over the Democrat's open border/welfare for all plan?
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    The more deterrence for illegals the better. They have absolutely no benefit on the economy & country as a whole. In fact, they average a net loss of $90 Billion a year according to the IRS. Anyone who says they benefit America is using falsified numbers or is letting their heart do what their brain obviously isn’t capable of. Which is the leftist signature.
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    I fully support and recommend passage. #MAGA
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    Increasing prison terms for crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants won’t deter illegal immigration or criminal activity, it’ll only increase federal prison costs.
    Like (11)
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    Yes, longer prison time for illegals but if a person is killed or murdered by an illegal why in the hell would they only do 20-40 years, that’s B.S., anyone should get life or executed. As far as illegals being in our prisons they shouldn’t, send them to Gitmo keep them out of the country, they shouldn’t be rewarded by being in our inland prisons.
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    Illegal immigration is increasing the profit for privately-owned prisons. The current mess is attributed to the president and his administration. The way they handled this situation has made everything so much worse. Ineptitude of the highest degree.
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    We need a sensible humane approach to immigration. Not more hate mongering. I say no to this. Let’s get a sane government and address immigration in a sane and humanitarian fashion. These issues can be managed. But not with a punitive and hateful approach.
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    Deport them for nonviolent crimes and execute for violent ones. Build the wall.
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