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Cases of illegal re-entry after deportation still on the rise in Oklahoma City court

So far this year, 10 illegal re-entry cases have been filed in federal court in Oklahoma City. On Jan. 5, 15 defendants were indicted, pleaded guilty, or were sentenced on charges of unlawful re-entry into the United States.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Modified: January 30, 2011 at 8:28 am •  Published: January 30, 2011
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“If your family is in the U.S., you'll risk anything to get back to them,” Kowalski said. “And if your family is in Mexico, and you need to feed them, you'll do anything to get a job to earn money to feed them. You will risk jail or prison.”

Carl Rusnok, regional spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the stiff consequences for returning illegally after a deportation should deter some from returning.

He said new agents have been added to the area over the past few years as well as a new supervisor of enforcement and removal operations. This could be a factor in the increasing numbers of cases referred to prosecutors.

“These re-entry cases help us maintain the integrity of the immigration system,” Rusnok said.

Most frequent charge

Nationally, illegal re-entry is the most frequent lead charge in immigration prosecutions, followed by bringing in and harboring aliens, according to the most recent monthly data provided by the nonprofit project Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse based at Syracuse University.

“We are concerned with making sure the public is safe,” Troester said.

He said the top priority of federal prosecutors includes the violent offenders and those who pose a danger to society.

Five of the 10 men indicted this month are considered aggravated felons. This includes violent crimes such as murder, burglary, drug trafficking, fraud and burglary. Three had no prior felony records. The rest had other previous felonies.

Some who are deported were previously removed from the country after being caught during traffic offenses.

Others had been caught in the country and removed but came back and were caught, this time committing a federal crime.


AT A GLANCE

Unlawful re-entry cases prosecuted

2008: 13.

2009: 26.

2010: 54.

Jan. 1 to Jan. 27, 2011: 10 indictments.

In January:

4: Number of guilty pleas for illegal re-entry.

16-33: Range of prison sentences in years given to three convicted defendants this month.

4: Highest number of deportations for a single defendant.

Source: U.S. Attorneys Office Western District records

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