Quick Deportations Help Accused Criminals

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
When federal immigration officials don’t communicate with local law enforcement about illegal immigrants who have broken the law, it’s the accused who benefit.
An investigation by the Columbus Dispatch uncovered numerous examples where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials moved too quickly to deport unauthorized aliens before justice could be served in this country. Examples included a man deported back to his home country before he could face an indictment for child molestation, and a witness, Daniel Mercado, who was deported to Mexico before he could testify at a murder trial, causing the prosecution’s case to fall apart and the accused murderer, a U.S. citizen, to go free. News of Mercado’s fate spread throughout the local Latino community. Ruben Herrera, an immigrant-rights activist, noted that “They're going to be very reluctant to step forward as a witness.”
Juan Casillas was arrested in early June for possession of almost a pound of heroin. But by the time a grand jury indicted him on the 17th of that month, he had already been deported.
About half of the more than 390,000 immigrants deported in fiscal year 2010 had criminal records.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Justice Denied (by Stephanie Czekalinski, Columbus Dispatch)


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