Diane Macedo, Fox News, September 29, 2010
A coalition of Mexican mayors has asked the United States to stop deporting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes in the U.S. to Mexican border cities, saying the deportations are contributing to Mexican border violence.
The request was made at a recent San Diego conference in which the mayors of four Mexican border cities and one U.S. mayor, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, gathered to discuss cross-border issues.
Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes blamed U.S. deportation policy for contributing to his city’s violence, saying that of the 80,000 people deported to Juarez in the past three years, 28,000 had U.S. criminal records–including 7,000 convicted rapists and 2,000 convicted murderers.
Those criminal deportees, he said, have contributed to the violence in Juarez, which has reported more than 2,200 murders this year. Reyes and the other Mexican mayors said that when the U.S. deports criminals back to Mexico, it should fly them to their hometowns, not just bus them to the border.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement transports a majority of Mexican criminal aliens back to Mexico on buses. Since they’re often held in U.S. detention centers near the border prior to deportation, busing them to Mexican border cities is much less expensive than flying them to the interior of the country.
Those convicted of crimes in the U.S. are required first to fulfill “any sentence imposed by the U.S. courts,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice told FoxNews.com.
But if they don’t have charges pending against them in Mexico, they are free men and women once they cross the border regardless of what they have done in the U.S.
And while criminal aliens continue to be repatriated to Mexico at other locations along the border, Kice said, “those removals are coordinated closely with Mexican authorities and advance notification is provided prior to the return of convicted violent offenders.”
Critics of the Mexican lawmakers say the U.S. is prosecuting the criminals in question, and if Mexico wants to keep them out of its border towns, then it should be up to Mexico to lock them up or transport them elsewhere.
“It’s almost perverse that foreign officials would blame us for sending their criminals back to their country. Sovereignty entails responsibility. This country needs to take responsibility for its own criminals, and other countries–Mexico included–need to take responsibility for their own criminals and deal with them,” Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told FoxNews.com.
[Editor’s Note: A similar story about crime in the Caribbean can be read here.]