Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Arrest near Nashville for driving foreign passengers without visas

Jose Jasso-Cuevas "convicted of the same federal crime in 2004"

"Unrealistic immigration laws encourage the black market"

The Nashville City Paper reported here on the arrest on I-40 in Dickson County of a man driving a vanload of 18 unvisaed passengers. The man was paid $550 per passenger for taking them to various parts of the country, including Tennessee.

Catalina Nieto, public awareness coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, was quoted by the Tennessean as saying, "Our unrealistic immigration laws encourage the black market for immigrant workers." (story here)

From the City Paper:
The van was driven by a man named Jose Jasso-Cuevas, and this was not his first cross-country trip.

Cuevas is now somewhere in the federal prison system, charged with a violation of federal code for transporting illegal aliens, according to court documents. It is an act federal officials and others involved in combating the practice refer to colloquially as human smuggling.

[ICE Agent Stephen] McCormick’s affidavit and other paperwork in the federal prosecution of Cuevas state there were 18 passengers crammed into the non-descript van, which Cuevas told authorities he had driven to Tennessee on behalf of a “transport company” in Houston. It was not Cuevas’ first trip for that company or in this line of work.

He told authorities he had made three or four trips on behalf of the same company, and that each undocumented persons on board was to pay him $550 once they were delivered to places across the South — Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Apparently, the system for delivering the illegal immigrants was to call a telephone number when he arrived in various states to get the information about where to drop each passenger.

It would not have been Cuevas’ first time in South Carolina. He was convicted of the same federal crime in 2004 there that he is now charged with in Nashville. Court records show he was released with a sentence of time served.
Photo by Mo Riza. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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