San Diego: immigrant smugglers rarely prosecuted
Posted Fri, May 5, 2006 at 10:07 am
...The report focused on a Border Patrol station responsible for 13 miles of mountainous border east of San Diego. It said that only 6 percent of 289 suspected immigrant smugglers caught there were federally prosecuted for that offense in the fiscal year ending in September 2004.
Some were charged with different counts, but others were released by the Border Patrol or saw their cases rejected by federal prosecutors.
Federal officials say the report, provided to the AP by the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., reflects a reality along the entire 2,000-mile border: Judges and federal attorneys are so swamped that only the most egregious smuggling cases are prosecuted.
"Why are agents putting their lives at risk when the people perpetrating this illegal act just walk away from the whole ordeal scot-free?" the report states. "It is very difficult to keep agents' morale up when the laws they were told to uphold are being watered-down or not prosecuted."