- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
Not saying it's a bad thing, just not the whole problem. What of those not 'flagged'? What of those abusing taxpayer provided benefits?
More immigration officers watching jails
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press WriterThu Feb 1, 5:27 PM ET
Juan Martinez was looking forward to returning to his construction job after a one-month sentence for violating probation on drug charges.
But when he got out of the Orange County jail, he was met by immigration agents bent on deporting the 23-year-old illegal immigrant with $68 in his pocket and few prospects.
"I just probably won't come back," he said about being sent to Tijuana, Mexico. "If I do, I'll keep coming back to prison and I don't want that."
U.S. jails and prisons have become strategic chokepoints in the search for illegal immigrants.
More federal agents are more closely watching local jails for potentially tens of thousands of immigrants subject to deportation. Federal officials also are enlisting local authorities to do background checks on people under arrest.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say more jail checks are crucial to preventing serious crimes by illegal immigrants. In December, for example, an illegal immigrant with a history of arrests for assaults and drug offenses shot two Long Beach police officers before he was killed in a gun battle.
"This isn't really an immigration issue. It's a public safety issue," ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. "You can be sure there'll be a finger-pointing drill at the end of the day if they do something evil."
About half of the nearly 190,000 illegal immigrants deported last year had criminal records, U.S. authorities said....