Mass release of U.S. prisoners spells deportation for hundreds
October 30, 2015, Reuters
Almost a third of 6,000 federal prisoners scheduled to be freed between Friday and Tuesday, part of a push to reduce America’s soaring incarceration rate, will immediately be turned over to U.S. immigration authorities for deportation proceedings.
While this weekend will be a happy occasion for the thousands of inmates who are U.S. citizens and will reunite with their families, many of the roughly 1,780 foreign inmates to be put on the deportation track will leave family members behind in the United States.
Despite Obama administration assurances that the transfer of ex-convicts into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a routine occurrence, immigrant advocates worry they may not receive due process as they leave.
Most of the foreign inmates are Mexicans, according to ICE.
Final deportation orders are in effect for 763 of the foreign inmates, who could be deported within days. The rest will be transferred to immigrant detention centers to await orders.
The latest mass release, one of the largest in U.S. history, is a result of retroactive reductions to mandatory minimum sentence guidelines for certain non-violent drug offenses.