The Criminalization of Immigration

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The anti-immigration legislation passed by Congress and signed into law byPresident Clinton last year is beginning to bite — and bite hard — allacrossthe country. One group of people affected are legal, long term immigrants whohave never taken up US citizenship but are increasingly finding themselvesdeported or jailed for what they consider to be little or no reason.

One such case is that of Jesus Collado, a New York restaurant owner whohas been living and working in the states for more than 20 years. Aftervisiting family in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, he was asked byimmigration officials in New York if he had ever been convicted of a crime.Collado was sentenced to probation in 1974. When he was a teenager, themother of his girlfriend had him arrested for statutory rape even though theyouths proclaimed their undying love for each other. Eventually the familiesreconciled and put the incident behind them.After telling the immigration agent about this past experience they arrestedhim. He has been in a York Pennsylvania jail for five months.

His arrest is the result of the immigration legislation that allows INSagents to deport or deny entry into the U.S. for immigrants with past felonyconvictions and certain misdemeanors.


  • Carmen Collado, the sister of Jesus Collado.
  • Steven Converse, an immigration attorney in York,Pennsylvania. He represents Jesus Collado.
  • Lucas Guttentag, the director of the National Immigrant RightsProject of the ACLU.

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