California will no longer spend $10 million a year to lock up undocumented immigrants with prior convictions who reenter the U.S. illegally after being deported, reports the Los Angeles Times. The policy refers to immigrants who had committed crimes in California and finished serving their terms. In the past, the state kept them on parole after deportation and incarcerated them for four to eight months for violating their parole by reentering the country illegally.
California corrections chief Matt Cate said the federal government should prosecute illegal immigrants who return after deportation because that is a crime under federal law. Out of 12,000 undocumented immigrants released for deportation in 2007, nearly 1,600 returned illegally and were sent to prison. Under federal law, they could have been prosecuted and given sentences for up to 20 years for returning to the country illegally. “In far too many cases, when the federal government did not prosecute, the only recourse was a four- to eight-month parole revocation term,” Cate said.