15:53 GMT +319 June 2019
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    Mass Prison Release Means Mass Deportations In US

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    About a third of the 6,000 inmates set to be released from federal prisons between Friday and Tuesday will be turned over to immigration authorities raising concern among rights groups that they may not get due process.

    The mass release accounts for just a portion of criminals who will be leaving prison cells under the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce the country’s incarceration rate and mandatory minimum sentence guidelines for certain non-violent drug offenses.

    Around 23,000 inmates have applied for reduced sentences since those policies took effect last November, and judges have accepted 75 percent of them. The batch of 6,000 is a portion of those.

    About 1,780 inmates from that batch are foreigners. 763 are ready to be deported within a few days under final deportation orders. The rest will report to immigration detention centers where they will await orders.

    According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, most of these inmates Mexican.

    Ricardo Hinojosa, a Texas judge, said that many "will be tempted to come back, and maybe quicker," because they have families in the United States.

    Before they can attempt a return, however, ICE officials stress they would be treated just like the thousands of deportees they oversee weekly.

    The Obama Administration, which has seen 2 million deportations or the most in history, assures the process is routine.

    The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday sent a letter to ICE chief Sarah Saldaña, urging ICE to provide each inmate with due process, including the opportunity to consult an immigration attorney and contest their removal in court.

    ICE said in a statement that all immigrants subject to deportation will "receive the full process they are due while in removal proceedings and ICE custody," including access to phones, contact attorneys, consulates and legal aid groups.

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    Tags:
    immigration, prison reform, prison, ICE, Ricardo Hinojosa, United States
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