Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So what DOES it take to deport a criminal from Britain? Judge cuts drug-dealing migrant's sentence so he won't get kicked out

A judge cut the sentence of an illegal immigrant and drug dealer yesterday to help him escape deportation. Vincent Miller was kicked out of the UK twice but managed to return and stay for more than a decade by stealing the identities of British citizens.

Yet when the 33-year-old was sentenced, the judge said sending him home to Jamaica would be ‘devastating’ for his three children. Judge Farook Ahmed made his decision on Miller's case during proceedings at Inner London Crown Court yesterday, claiming if he was to be deported it would be 'devastating' for his children

Judge Farook Ahmed made his decision on Miller's case during proceedings at Inner London Crown Court yesterday, claiming if he was to be deported it would be 'devastating' for his children

Incredibly, he deliberately shortened the sentence Miller would have received from a year to 11 months. Criminals given 12 months face automatic deportation proceedings.

Recorder Farook Ahmed told Miller: ‘The sentence I have had in mind was 12 months, but it seems to me that it isn’t necessary for me to pass a sentence of 12 months because a sentence of 11 months will have the same effect, and it would take away the automatic triggering of deportation. I have taken into account that if you were to be deported it is bound to have a devastating effect on your three children, who I’m told are lawfully here in the UK.’

The judge’s decision provoked a fierce backlash. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the pressure group Migrationwatch, said: ‘This raises serious questions about the attitude of the judiciary towards the whole question of removing from Britain those who no longer have a right to be here. ‘To shorten the sentence of a criminal so as to allow him to stay simply beggars belief.’

Tory MP Dominic Raab said: ‘The sentence should be tailored to fit the crime, not avoid Parliament’s rules on deportation which are there to protect the public.’

The case follows a string of outrages where the Human Rights Act has blocked deportation on family grounds.

Criminals have been permitted to stay even where they do not have children or a wife, but only a girlfriend.

Miller arrived in Britain at Christmas in 2000 when he was given permission to stay for only four days.

He did not return home and was arrested and deported in February 2001 only to return that Easter under a stolen identity. Within two years he was deported for supplying class A drugs.

From abroad he successfully applied for a new passport in the name of another man, Joseph Roche, who had no idea his identity had been stolen. That second identity crime allowed him to obtain a driving licence and start work as a barber.

As a result of his fraud, his wife and their three children, aged two, four and six, were able to claim UK citizenship.

His crimes were uncovered only when the real Mr Roche applied for a replacement driving licence, and DVLA officials realised two people were claiming to be the same man.

Miller, of Herne Hill in South East London, was arrested on July 5 and claimed he had given up Mr Roche’s identity some time earlier. He later pleaded guilty to possessing another person’s identity document, three counts of conspiring to obtain property by deception and three counts of dishonestly making a false representation.

Anyone sentenced to more than a year in prison is automatically considered for deportation by the UK Border Agency.

But the judge at Inner London Crown Court said he would reduce the intended sentence to allow Miller to stay in the country and look after his children.

Judge Ahmed told him: ‘You subverted immigration rules and you were able to construct a life in the UK based on your deception. ‘I have taken into account that if you were to be deported it is bound to have a devastating effect on your three children, who I’m told are lawfully here in the UK.

‘At least one other person benefited from your conduct, and that is I’m told your former wife,’ said the judge. ‘She was able to become a UK national as a result of your assumption of Mr Roche’s identity.’

The judge said it was a significant aggravating factor that he had made a ‘wholesale assumption’ of Mr Roche’s identity, who was himself then suspected of being a criminal. ‘He is a real person and is entirely innocent,’ he said.

The Home Office insisted it would still seek to deport Miller at the end of his sentence. However, the Jamaican will be entitled to use Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a private and family life – to attempt to stay in the country.

Figures obtained by the Daily Mail show nearly 400 foreign criminals escaped deportation last year by using Article 8.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘We will seek to remove this individual at the end of his sentence. If someone has no right to be in this country, and does not leave voluntarily, we will take action to enforce their removal.’


Obama's Backdoor amnesty

Homeland Security officials misled the public and Congress last year in an effort to downplay a wave of immigration case dismissals in Houston and other cities amid accusations that they had created a "back-door amnesty," newly released records show.

The records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, include a series of internal memos from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's chief counsel in Houston dated last August ordering attorneys to review all new, incoming cases and thousands already pending on the immigration court docket and to file paperwork to dismiss any that did not meet the agency's "top priorities."

The secretive review process resulted in the dismissal of hundreds of cases in Houston, most of them involving illegal immigrants who had lived in the United States for years without committing serious crimes.

A string of emails shows the dismissals had the blessings of top attorneys at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C., last summer and that other ICE legal offices across the country were encouraged to consider measures to better use the agency's limited resources to target dangerous criminals.

The records also document for the first time that the agency quietly rescinded the Houston memo on Aug. 25 — the day the Houston Chronicle broke the story on the dismissals — amid allegations from conservatives that the Obama administration had created a stealth amnesty program for illegal immigrants.

ICE public affairs officials in Washington initially refused either to confirm or deny the dismissals, and then told several news outlets that they affected only a very narrow class of illegal immigrants with pending green card applications described in a different agency memo. After Senate Judiciary Committee members demanded an investigation last fall into the Houston dismissals, Homeland Security officials reiterated the same claim they made to the media.

However, the newly released documents show conclusively that government attorneys in Houston were given wide latitude to file motions to dismiss cases, including some involving immigrants with convictions for primarily misdemeanor offenses.

"It now appears that DHS attempted to mislead the public and Congress on its policy of directing dismissals of cases against criminal aliens," said Jessica Sandlin, Sen. John Cornyn's Texas press secretary. "After this failed attempt at stonewalling and obstruction of the public's right to know, the truth is now coming out."

Sandlin vowed to "get to the bottom" of the case dismissals, meaning ICE leadership may have to account to Congress for what some critics are calling an attempted cover-up by the agency.

ICE officials declined to answer a reporter's questions about whether they intentionally misled the news media, the general public or Congress in connection with the dismissals. In a statement, the agency's spokeswoman, Barbara Gonzalez, said the Houston memos "misconstrued and exceeded the agency's official guidance" on prosecutorial discretion and were rescinded quickly.

However, the internal records show the Houston office's efforts were praised internally by supervisors at ICE headquarters in Washington until news of the dismissals broke. And immigration court data shows the number of cases dismissed nationally grew by about 40 percent last fiscal year, with several courts scattered across the country reporting major increases.

Immigrant advocates praised the dismissals as a common-sense measure, but the more lenient shift in agency policy has prompted protests from within ICE's rank-and-file, with union officials accusing the administration of straying from its core mission to enforce the nation's immigration laws.

Tre Rebstock, president of the Houston ICE union, said he was concerned that the agency's leadership may have jeopardized public safety by dismissing some cases involving immigrants with criminal records. But Rebstock said he was equally concerned about the official reaction to the controversy, saying it had the hallmarks of a cover-up.

"As law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard than the public because we have the public's trust," Rebstock said. "And then they go and stand up in front of the Senate and throw all of their credibility out of the window when they say, 'Oh no, we weren't doing this. This wasn't our policy.'

"They did it," Rebstock said. "And then they lied - or misrepresented the truth, at the very least - about what they were doing."

Much more HERE

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