One of the more popular verbal tricks employed by open border advocates in debates over immigration reform is to say that it’s, “not a crime to be in the United States illegally.” We’ve seen this trope trotted out before many times but it’s popped up once again at Politifact this week. This bit of “fact checking” was spurred by a debate in the Florida State House of Representatives over new penalties for illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes. As part of that discussion, one of the Democrats involved made a point of declaring that those in the country illegally are not guilty of committing a crime, but rather a “civil violation.”
This truly is the type of linguistic gymnastics which liberals always fall back on when attempting to obfuscate the obvious and cloud the issue. The Politifact team summons up a couple of experts to immediately support this assertion.
[Ingrid M.] Delgado said, “Unlawful presence is not a crime. It is a civil violation.” …
But we wanted to get to the bottom of whether undocumented immigrants were committing a crime by just being in the country.