Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ICE wants other states to copy Arizona program, deport illegal inmates early

Federal immigration officials want other states to copy an Arizona program that releases nonviolent illegal immigrants from state prisons early and then deports them. Arizona has turned over more than 1,400 state prisoners to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since the program began in 2005, saving $18.6 million.

Eligible inmates were those convicted of crimes from drunken driving to lower-level drug charges. Arizona was the first state to team up with ICE under the Rapid Repatriation program helping state prison officials identify illegal immigrants when they are booked. New York has a similar program.

'It's a great program,' ICE spokesman Vincent Picard said. 'It keeps criminals off the streets of Arizona. It saves the state lots of money.'

Julie Myers, assistant secretary of homeland security for ICE. said the federal government has approached all the other states and is close to inking agreements with 'a handful' in the next few months. Populous border states with overcrowded prisons are a priority.


  1. This is a great program. Many states should get on board, because they are hurting financially. Incarceration is costly and I bet most illegal immigrants use court appointed lawyers and language interpreters, which are expensive for taxpayers as well. We don't need them to show up more than once at the courthouse or prison, because many offenders are repeat offenders----COSTLY.


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