3.03.2006

The Gospel vs. H.R. 4437

From an editorial in today's New York Times:
It has been a long time since this country heard a call to organized lawbreaking on this big a scale. Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, urged parishioners on Ash Wednesday to devote the 40 days of Lent to fasting, prayer and reflection on the need for humane reform of immigration laws. If current efforts in Congress make it a felony to shield or offer support to illegal immigrants, Cardinal Mahony said, he will instruct his priests — and faithful lay Catholics — to defy the law.
The House recently passed H.R. 4437. Here is the bill. (If the link doesn't work, go here, copy and paste the bill # into the search field, click the "search by bill number" option and click "search."

Here's the section to be concerned about:

SEC. 274. (a) Criminal Offenses and Penalties-
`(1) PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES- Whoever--
`(A) assists, encourages, directs, or induces a person to come to or enter the United States, or to attempt to come to or enter the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien who lacks lawful authority to come to or enter the United States;
`(B) assists, encourages, directs, or induces a person to come to or enter the United States at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, regardless of whether such person has official permission or lawful authority to be in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien;
`(C) assists, encourages, directs, or induces a person to reside in or remain in the United States, or to attempt to reside in or remain in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien who lacks lawful authority to reside in or remain in the United States;
`(D) transports or moves a person in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien who lacks lawful authority to enter or be in the United States, where the transportation or movement will aid or further in any manner the person's illegal entry into or illegal presence in the United States;
`(E) harbors, conceals, or shields from detection a person in the United States knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien who lacks lawful authority to be in the United States;
`(F) transports, moves, harbors, conceals, or shields from detection a person outside of the United States knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien in unlawful transit from one country to another or on the high seas, under circumstances in which the person is in fact seeking to enter the United States without official permission or lawful authority; or
`(G) conspires or attempts to commit any of the preceding acts,
shall be punished as provided in paragraph (2), regardless of any official action which may later be taken with respect to such alien.
`(2) CRIMINAL PENALTIES- A person who violates the provisions of paragraph (1) shall--
`(A) except as provided in subparagraphs (D) through (H), in the case where the offense was not committed for commercial advantage, profit, or private financial gain, be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both;
`(B) except as provided in subparagraphs (C) through (H), where the offense was committed for commercial advantage, profit, or private financial gain--
`(i) in the case of a first violation of this subparagraph, be imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both; and
`(ii) for any subsequent violation, be imprisoned for not less than 3 years nor more than 20 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both;
`(C) in the case where the offense was committed for commercial advantage, profit, or private financial gain and involved 2 or more aliens other than the offender, be imprisoned for not less than 3 nor more than 20 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both;
`(D) in the case where the offense furthers or aids the commission of any other offense against the United States or any State, which offense is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year, be imprisoned for not less than 5 nor more than 20 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both;
`(E) in the case where any participant in the offense created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person, including--
`(i) transporting a person in an engine compartment, storage compartment, or other confined space;
`(ii) transporting a person at an excessive speed or in excess of the rated capacity of the means of transportation; or
`(iii) transporting or harboring a person in a crowded, dangerous, or inhumane manner,
be imprisoned not less than 5 nor more than 20 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both;
`(F) in the case where the offense caused serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18, United States Code, including any conduct that would violate sections 2241 or 2242 of title 18, United States Code, if the conduct occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States) to any person, be imprisoned for not less than 7 nor more than 30 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both;
`(G) in the case where the offense involved an alien who the offender knew or had reason to believe was an alien--
`(i) engaged in terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)); or
`(ii) intending to engage in such terrorist activity,
be imprisoned for not less than 10 nor more than 30 years, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both; and
`(H) in the case where the offense caused or resulted in the death of any person, be punished by death or imprisoned for not less than 10 years, or any term of years, or for life, or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both.