Despite the political furor, there have been no moves to curtail prison terms for illegal immigrants or to deport them before they finish serving their sentences, corrections officials said.Why not? If the issue is the money we could save by not incarcerating the undocumented, it seems the simple solution is to suspend their jail sentences upon conviction and turn them over to federal Immigration authorities for detention pending conclusion of their deportation proceedings. Should they later turn up in the U.S. and commit another crime, not only could the suspended sentence then be imposed, but they would be charged with the federal offense of illegal entry after deportation. Why should we pay, for example, to house a drug offender for six years when he is going to be deported anyway at the end of the sentence? It makes more sense to deport him upon conviction and let him be some other country's problem. Once he's turned over to federal custody, Colorado wouldn't even have to bear the cost of his detention pending deportation. One other quote in the article deserves mentioning. Former Gov. Dick Lamm, sounding more and more like Tom Tancredo, tells the Times,
"We've got enough of our own homegrown criminals," Mr. Lamm said. "Why are we importing more?"Where is the evidence we are importing criminals? How many of the undocumented had criminal records in their country of origin as opposed to committing their first offense here? Is he saying they were criminals before they committed a crime? This sounds to me like a cheap soundbite meant to inflame. It inflamed me, but not the way Mr. Lamm intended.
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