by Sam Dolnick, New York Times
November 10, 2010
As the Obama administration steps up efforts to deport immigrants held on criminal charges, federal officials in New York City have long been on the job. At the city’s main jail on Rikers Island, immigration officers comb through lists of foreign-born inmates, then question, detain and deport about 3,200 of them a year.
Immigration authorities say they decide whom to flag by considering the severity of the crime and the inmate’s criminal history and immigration record. Their top priority, they say, is removing the most dangerous offenders.
But a new analysis of Rikers Island statistics by Justice Strategies, a prisoner advocacy group based in New York, shows that among inmates held on drug charges, those accused of misdemeanors were chosen for deportation proceedings more often than those charged with felonies. [...]
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