I was away when this hit the newspapers, but it’s still timely. A federal judge in Boston was furious with prosecutors at a sentencing hearing for filing felony charges in the conviction of someone hiring an illegal alien as a maid, instead of the usual misdemeanor. He called their handling of the case “aggressive and overreaching.”
“It was a cleaning lady,” U.S. District court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock said of the Brazilian maid hired by Lorraine Henderson. “A cleaning lady. Not Al Capone.”
I might agree with the judge, except for one thing: The defendant in this case is Lorraine Henderson, who at the time was an official with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection service and the regional director of the unit charged with keeping illegal aliens from entering this country through air and seaports in New England. She was convicted in March of one count of encouraging or inducing an illegal alien.
It would be one thing if the defendant were an average Joe who hired an illegal alien or even, as in this case, encouraged them to evade the law to remain an illegal in their employ. But it’s another thing when the high-ranking government official, entrusted by the people of this nation to enforce those very same immigration laws, undermines them herself and fails in her sworn duty to uphold them.
In this case, I think Judge Woodlock may be out of line. Could the prosecutors have filed for a lesser charge? Yes. But they didn’t because an egregious abuse of power demands higher accountability. Which a jury of Henderson’s peers apparently agreed with in March. Judge Woodlock better leave his outrage at the door, because it’s his job to enforce the law impartially as well.