More than a fourth of the inmates in federal prisons are “criminal aliens,” report McClatchy Newspapers. Those still at large often fall between the cracks of an overburdened and uneven enforcement system, escaping detection and deportation. More than 300,000 criminal aliens are expected to be put in state and local jails this year, says a forecast by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. Most may remain in the U.S. after serving their sentences because the federal government lacks the resources to identify, detain, and deport them, the audit said.
Jose Carranza, a suspect in Newark killings, is an illegal immigrant from Peru who was out on bond on assault and child-rape charges. Authorities were unaware that he was in the U.S. illegally, largely because local policy bars officers from questioning suspects on their immigration status. New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram has ordered state and local officers to ask suspects about their immigration status and, if necessary, to notify federal immigration officials. The Immigration Policy Center contends that the perception of “immigrant criminality” is greatly exaggerated, noting that crimes by illegal immigrants are proportionately much less than those committed by native-born white males. Some state and local law-enforcement agencies team up with the federal government to enforce immigration laws under a program known as 287g. The officers undergo federal training and can tap into federal immigration data. At least a half-dozen states and 26 cities participate in the program, created by a 1996 immigration law.