NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Bouncing Criminal Aliens Out Of The Country

July 9, 1999

Three years ago Congress speeded up the process of deporting criminals who are not U.S. citizens. It directed the Immigration and Naturalization Service to ignore the pluses and minuses of a convict's history and simply boot miscreants out of the country as soon as their prison sentences had been served.

The plan is known as the Institutional Removals Program and observers say the process has become quite efficient.

  • The U.S. has at least 300,000 foreign criminals -- 30,000 of them in federal prisons and 85,000 in state facilities.
  • Many of the remainder are free on probation after having served their time and have slipped from the INS's grasp.
  • When in prison, 90 percent of deportable criminals get deported -- while 90 percent of those not in prison are not deported.
  • Thus, to process potential deportees before they are released, courts have been set up within the walls of more than 70 state and federal prisons.

In 1996, before the new procedure took effect, inmates filed 1,522 petitions to waive deportation -- of which 330 were granted. Under the new system, the number of petitions filed sank to 92 in 1998 and only eight were granted.

Source: Barry Newman, "For Criminal Aliens, the Deportation Boot Is a Very Swift Kick," Wall Street Journal, July 9, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues