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Deporting Prisoners Saves State Money, Worries Baja

Above: Prisoners lay on their bunks at California State Prison in Los Angeles County, located in the city of Lancaster. (Eds. note: The Department of Corrections said it no longer uses triple bunks in its facilities.)

Audio

Aired 9/3/09

California Corrections officials are reviewing the cases of undocumented immigrant prisoners to see who can be deported. About 6,000 up for consideration have more than one felony.

California Corrections officials are reviewing the cases of undocumented immigrant prisoners to see who can be deported. About 6,000 up for consideration have more than one felony.

Releasing undocumented prisoners is part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to save the state about a billion dollars. The Governor has the power to release about 2000 undocumented immigrant prisoners. Included are those who have not committed serious, violent or sex crimes and have just one felony.

Seth Unger is with the California Corrections Department. He says that's the first wave the Governor would release for deportation, but the Governor needs help to release the other 6,000.

"There could be a group that he'd have to submit to the Supreme Court for consideration," said Unger. "There could be some that have a serious or violent felony or, you know, there'd be others that would have to be looked at later to look at their classifications."

Though releasing undocumented prisoners would save California money, Baja California officials worry deporting felons to Mexico could boost crime. Nearly 70 percent of California's undocumented prisoners are from Mexico.

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