NEW ORLEANS – Santos Elenilson Gonzalez-Rivas, 24, a citizen of El Salvador, was sentenced in federal court to 24 months imprisonment, because he reentered the United States after he had been deported.
Court documents state that on Sept. 20, 2011, the 24 year old plead guilty to one count of an indictment admitting he was an alien who had been previously removed and was knowingly and unlawfully found in Louisiana without the permission of the Attorney General or Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Judge Engelhardt placed Gonzalez on one year of supervised release following his prison term. He also ordered that Gonzalez pay a $2,500 fine to the United States. It is interesting to note that it will be impossible for the young man to comply with the judge’s order requiring one year of supervision following his release from jail.
Philip Miller, field office director of ICE ERO in New Orleans said that "This prison sentence helps send the message that reentering the United States after being formally deported is a serious crime,". "ICE's close coordination with the U.S. Attorney's Office helps put teeth into the immigration laws." Miller oversees ICE ERO in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Critics have called this harsh treatment for such an offense. Especially that the ruling makes it impossible for Gonzalez to comply as he will be detained by ICE immediately following his prison tem and deported. He will be unable to comply with one year court ordered supervision Perhaps this decision revolves around the current political climate in Louisiana.
A law similar to Arizona’s controversial immigration law called “Louisiana Citizens Protection Act” is slowly going though to Louisiana’s congress.
HB 411, was introduced on April 25, and would require law enforcement officers that conduct lawful stops to determine citizenship status of detainees, where reasonable suspicion exists.
Although law enforcement cannot use race, color, or national origin as a means of enforcing the law. Individual officers will rely on their own discretion, which leaves the door wide open for for misuse.
The bill targets people who hire day laborers off the streets. It makes knowing transportation or shelter of illegal immigrants with intent to avert enforcement officials against the law.
A recent a study from the Pew Hispanic Institute which indicates a doubling of the number of illegal immigrants in Louisiana 2007.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice enjoined sections of the Arizona bill from becoming law. These sections include requiring police to question resident’s immigration status, requiring immigrants to carry documents, making it a criminal offense for illegal immigrants to look for work, and permitting the police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrants without a warrant.