Immigration officials are increasingly scouring jails and courts nationwide and reviewing years-old criminal records to identify deportable immigrants, efforts that have contributed to a steep rise in deportations and strained the immigration court system, reports the Washington Post. Long accused of failing to do enough to deport illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, federal authorities have recently strengthened partnerships with local corrections systems and taken other steps to monitor immigrants facing charges, officials said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that in the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30, it placed 164,000 criminals in deportation proceedings, a sharp increase from the 64,000 the agency said it identified and placed in proceedings the year before. The agency estimates that the number will rise to 200,000 this year. The heightened scrutiny, fueled by post-9/11 national security concerns and the growing debate over illegal immigration, has introduced a major element to the practice of criminal law in the Washington region and other parts of the country with large immigrant populations.