Monday, September 10, 2007

North Carolina is successfully identifying illegal inmates, seeking their deportation

In a program started in July, North Carolina is successfully identifying inmates who are illegal aliens and moving them toward deportation. Since then, 125 new inmates have been served with deportation detainers.

Ten more who were already in the prison have also been identified, and 785 inmates in the system already had deportation detainers before the program began. While previous checks were piecemeal, a prison official said "We're now screening everyone that comes in through the front door."

In a letter to U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, officials said the state is now immediately steering possible illegals entering the system to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. "All inmates who cannot prove American citizenship are referred to an ICE agent on duty," the letter stated, adding 'The ICE agent, after an initial interview, conducts an investigation to determine if the inmate is deportable,' and deportation proceedings can begin soon after."

ICE agents are now physically present at the state's four largest admission centers a few days each week and visit smaller centers if necessary. Myrick, R-N.C., had asked the state to use initial screenings to check the immigration status of inmates.

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