Local-Federal Teamwork Boosts Deportations
A nationwide trend of local police joining forces with federal authorities has resulted in a record number of deportations of illegal immigrants, thousands of them criminal convicts.
Nearly 350,000 illegal aliens were deported from the U.S. in fiscal year 2008, which ended in September, compared to 288,663 the previous year. One-third of those deported have been convicted of crimes in U.S. courts.
Federal authorities attribute the increase in deportations to improved cooperation between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which released the statistics, and local police departments that in the past refused to participate in the enforcement of immigration laws.
The teamwork has created an “incredible force multiplier,” according to an ICE director in Arizona, which led the nation in deportations. Nearly 73,000 illegal immigrants were deported from the border state, marking a 64% increase from the previous year. More than 2,500 of those deported had been convicted of serious felonies.
Other parts of the nation also saw a substantial jump in deportations. In Texas they went from 13,500 last year to 16,300 this year and in Florida a record number 12,753 illegal aliens were repatriated. The country’s northwest region—including Washington, Oregon and Alaska—saw a 38% increase in deportations.
In southern California a relatively new program that has county sheriff’s personnel determine inmates’ immigration status has led federal officials to flag more than 35,000 inmates for deportation. Before the program was in place, the convicts were simply released upon completing their sentence.