In a move that could save taxpayers millions of dollars, Texas parole officials have taken the first steps to begin deporting some of the 11,000 foreign citizens who are serving time in Texas prisons, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles grilled federal immigration officials to make sure the foreign citizens they want to deport — most probably back to Mexico — will actually be sent to their home countries, not turned loose in Texas.
“We’re concerned that they’re not deported and they’re just released to the street,” said Parole Board Chairwoman Rissie Owens. “We hear horror stories. With all of our votes, public safety is the main issue.” Under a state law that takes effect Sept. 1, the parole board can begin approving convicts for parole on the condition that they are deported to their home country. The law covers foreigners convicted of both violent and nonviolent crimes. Bryan Collier of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said about 11,500 of Texas’ 156,000 state prisoners are not U.S. citizens — and about 6,000 of those have a deportation order pending against them.