Trump sends wrong message about immigration raids, commutes Rubashkin's sentence (Agriprocessors, Postville)
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of former Iowa slaughterhouse executive Sholom Rubashkin, who was sentenced to 27 years for bank fraud and money laundering, the White House said.
In a statement, the White House said the decision, which is not a presidential pardon, had bipartisan support from leaders across the political spectrum, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Trump's action does not vacate Rubashkin’s conviction and leaves his term of supervised release and a restitution obligation, the White House said...
...A review of Rubashkin's case was supported by more than 30 members of Congress, including Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, the White House said. He was the only Iowa representative to support a review. Five former high-ranking Department of Justice officials, including former FBI Director Louis Freeh, also supported a review of the case, the White House said.
Robert Teig, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the northern district of Iowa who was involved in the prosecution early on, called the commutation political, describing it as the result of a campaign of false information. Rubashkin was likely the largest employer of illegal immigrants at the time in Iowa, Teig said. He asserted the commutation was "180-degrees" from a get-tough approach on illegal immigration.
"[Rubashkin] couldn’t win legally, factually or morally, so he had to win politically," Teig, 66, of Cedar Rapids, told the Register. "It’s sad when politics interferes with the justice system."...
...detractors lamented that Rubashkin was never tried in federal court on a host of immigration charges, which would have given former workers an opportunity to testify about alleged abuses and exploitation at the plant. Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorneys Office dismissed those charges shortly after Rubashkin's convictions for bank fraud and money laundering...
1. Even if some think Rubashkin's sentence was too long and there are mitigating factors, Trump could have waited two or three years to commute the sentence.
2. This sends the wrong message about future immigration raids. High-profile convictions in such cases are exceedingly rare and Trump has signaled to, say, chicken processor executives that he'd be willing to let them off the hook. This shouldn't be surprising since Donald Trump has repeatedly shown that, while he talks tough on border issues like George W Bush, he's very weak on the immigration issue. To the extent that Trump is capable of devising plans, he might have perfected GWB's scam: talk tough on the border in order to push mass immigration.
3. Some will try to blame Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump for this decision, but that won't wash: it's Donald Trump's name on the order. He's the boss and he has to take the blame.
See Postville for extensive past coverage of the immigration raid and its aftermath.