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Chris Gregoire works to keep foreign criminals *in* Washington (SSB 5168, Prentice, Kline, Regala, Chase, Kohl-Welles)

In April, Washington governor Chris Gregoire signed SSB 5168, a law that uses a cute trick to keep foreign criminals in her state rather than having them deported. Most honest politicians who support proper public policy would work to reduce the number of criminals in their state, but Gregoire and the five state legislators [1] who sponsored the bill - all of them Democrats - obviously have other priorities.

The way the law works is described here [2]. The Department of Homeland Security can deport foreign citizens who are here legally or illegally and who've been sentenced to more than a year in jail. To avoid that, Washington's law reduces the sentences for gross misdemeanors from 365 days to 364 days. Instead of encouraging the DHS to deport foreign criminals, Gregoire and her colleagues are trying to keep them in Washington. Many of those who'll remain in Washington won't commit further crimes, but others will. Instead of trying to reduce the crime rate in their state, Gregoire and her colleagues are increasing it.

If you live in Washington and you want to do something about this, see the question authority summary for a general action plan. Then, see this page about how to ask politicians tough questions. Apply both to this issue: find a smart, experienced trial lawyer or similar, develop some questions about the law, and then have the lawyer "cross-examine" Gregoire or one of the legislators at [1] about this law on video. Then, upload the video to video sharing sites.

Lawmakers push bills like this because they're corrupt: they want political power even if it results in increasing crime in their state. "Cross-examining" them on video would have an impact on their political careers if the questioner is skilled and the questions are good. That will send a strong message to other legislators who want to put their careers ahead of what's best for their state.

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[1] The bill's sponsors were state senators Margarita Prentice, Adam Kline, Debbie Regala, Maralyn Chase, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

[2] The full text is in this PDF file: link. The bill history is here. From the law:

The legislature finds that a maximum sentence by a court in the state of Washington for a gross misdemeanor can, under federal law, result in the automatic deportation of a person who has lawfully immigrated to the United States, is a victim of domestic violence or a political refugee, even when all or part of the sentence to total confinement is suspended . . . Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to cure this inequity by reducing the maximum sentence for a gross misdemeanor by one day.

Other tags: immigration crime

Mon, 06/13/2011 - 13:13 · Importance: 4