A group of immigrant-rights advocates says it would be unfair to deport the roughly 2,000 convicted criminal aliens released from prison due to new sentencing guidelines.
Beginning Friday and continuing through Monday, 6,000 inmates incarcerated for drug offenses are being released due to retroactive reductions in prison sentences for drug trafficking crimes. About a third of those released inmates are non-citizens.
Once released, many of these criminal aliens will be put on the path to deportation.
According to the “racial justice group” Advancement Project, and immigrant advocacy group Florida Immigrant Coalition, these convicted immigrants should not be deported at all.
“It is a tragic misstep that the Department of Justice’s action to release thousands of incarcerated people is being used as a funnel to deportation,” Florida Immigrant Coalition Executive Director María Rodríguez said in a statement. “The 2,000 parents, neighbors, cousins and siblings who will now face swift deportation have repaid their debt.”
Many of the criminal aliens slated for release have committed crimes that make them a priority for removal under the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement guidelines.
According to the advocacy groups, however, the released criminal aliens should be granted a the ability to remain in the U.S.
“There should be immediate action taken to ensure that each individual who is being rightly released from confinement under new Department of Justice standards is given a fair opportunity to remain unseparated from their family and home,” Advancement Project Senior Attorney and Director of Immigrant Justice Flavia Jimenez added.
The call by immigrant-rights groups not to deport the criminal immigrants slated for release comes as Republican lawmakers have pressed the Obama administration to quickly removal of these released criminal immigrants.