On Jan. 8, Alberto Bautista-Sanchez, 30, was indicted on federal charges of illegally re-entering the United States, a felony.
On November 30, the Mexican national was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police, charged with DUI and booked into the Franklin County Jail on an immigration detainer.
Bautista-Sanchez has a long criminal history in this country, and has been deported seven times according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In a press release, ICE stated:
Deportation records show, since 2002, Bautista-Sanchez has illegally re-entered the United States at least seven times after being removed from the country by ERO officers. When in the United States, Bautista-Sanchez amassed numerous criminal convictions, including unlawful sex with a minor in 2002 and 2008, battery and driving under the influence.
If convicted of illegal re-entry, Bautista-Sanchez could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Despite former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's claim that "crossing the border is not a crime per se," it is indeed a crime.
The specific federal statute states:
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.
While the first offense is only considered a misdemeanor, entering this country illegally after having been previously removed is a felony, and opens the offender to a much stiffer penalty.
Of course, until the federal government actually secures the border, deportations are obviously rather meaningless.