OPINION: Brian Sandoval talks tough, but lets dangerous, undocumented criminals walk for a song

by Phoebe Sweet – Nevada State Democratic Party

Brian Sandoval has always had trouble keeping his story straight on illegal immigration. But a flip-flop revealed today by the Nevada News Bureau proves all Sandoval’s tough talk on the issue is just more lies and distortions – more proof he’s willing to say anything to get elected.
Sandoval posted on his Web site today that, “It was my duty to sentence undocumented immigrants for their crimes.” But a look at Sandoval’s sentencing record shows a pattern of leniency from the Republican candidate, according to the story.

“While on the federal bench, Sandoval repeatedly waived or reduced prison sentences and doled out minimum fines to criminal illegal immigrants who were repeat offenders, at least one of them over the strong objections of federal prosecutors.” [Nevada News Bureau, 5/20/10]
Sandoval routinely sentenced undocumented immigrants in his federal courtroom, including drug dealers and child rapists, to $100 fines rather than jail time. At times he even ignored federal sentencing guidelines and recommendations from prosecutors.
In one case, Sandoval sentenced an undocumented immigrant who had illegally crossed the border six times – and had been convicted of statutory rape – to time served and a $100 fine.

An undocumented immigrant found carrying an unregistered gun received a $100 fine and supervised release from Sandoval.
The list goes on. Meth dealers, drug traffickers, and passport and social security card forgers who had been in the country illegally all received light sentences from Sandoval.
Now, having reentered politics, Sandoval is pandering to conservative voters by telling them he’s tough on immigration and tough on crime, while his record as a judge tells another story.
But this isn’t the first time Brian Sandoval has demonstrated his loose relationship with the truth.

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Earlier this year, Sandoval was caught by the Las Vegas Sun for flip-flopping on undocumented immigrants drivers’ licenses, after telling a group of Hispanic voters that he would “strongly consider” granting them.
When Brian Sandoval’s not busy pandering to Hispanic voters, he can be found pandering to the far right.

In February, Sandoval reversed his earlier position on drivers’ licenses and told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he supports current state law, which denies drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Then last month he said at a Tea Party debate that he does not support drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants and that he “strongly supports” the recently passed unconstitutional Arizona immigration law.
“Brian Sandoval can’t have it both ways. Is he tough on crime and tough on illegal immigration, or is he the judge who let child rapists and drug dealers skate for the price of a traffic ticket?” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “This is just the latest example of how Sandoval is willing to lie and distort his record to get ahead. But the facts don’t lie – and Sandoval’s record of leniency for dangerous criminals speaks for itself.”

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