Nearly a third of the 6,000 inmates whom the Obama administration plans to release early from federal prisons across the United States this month are noncitizens, officials say.
Although a lack of cooperation between local or state jails and federal immigration officials has hampered past efforts to deport illegal immigrants once their sentences are complete, officials expect this process to go smoothly.
Illegal immigrants and legal noncitizen residents, who now may be subject to deportation because of the nature of their convictions, are among a wider group set to be released early from prison sentences under guidelines recently adopted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The first wave of releases, scheduled for the end of the month, is part of an effort to ease overcrowding and scale back harsh penalties handed down to nonviolent drug offenders.
Disagreements over the handling of illegal immigrants have led some agencies to ignore immigration detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leading to the release of some inmates before they can be deported.