The niece of Congressman Jerry Costello has been sentenced to two years probation for knowingly harboring her undocumented boyfriend in Southern Illinois. According to a stipulation of facts signed by the defendant, Deanna Costello, and the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted her, the woman’s boyfriend, Rogelio Salaices-Arenales, had lived with the defendant at their home in Cahokia. Salaices-Arenales was living with Deanna Costello at the time of a federal drug arrest in 2003. The man was subsequently convicted, sentenced, imprisoned and deported to his home country of Mexico.
In March of 2006, Ms. Costello picked Salaices-Arenales up from the St. Louis Greyhound bus station and brought her back to her home in Cahokia where he lived in the U.S. without status until a subsequent arrest in October of that year. That arrest filed a brief chase in which the man called the Congressman’s niece and her subsequent appearance on the scene.
This case demonstrates that people who house known undocumented aliens do so at their peril. This is especially true in situations such as this one where the person being hidden has a criminal past. While we have not heard of a high number of harboring convictions, we have noticed an uptick in these types of prosecutions. If you face criminal charges in Southern Illinois or Missouri related to harboring an undocumented individual or if you have questions about deportation in general, please feel free to contact me, Jim Hacking, at 314-961-8200 or by completing our online contact page.