Illegal immigrants held in jail for $95 a day
By Kim Quintero
Story Published: Jun 5, 2008 at 5:41 PM PDT
EUGENE, Ore. – Illegal immigrants from all over the state are being housed in Lane County's jail, and taxpayers are footing the bill.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has teamed up with Lane County Sheriff's Office to jail illegal immigrants accused or convicted of crimes in Oregon, before proceeding through the deportation process.
The price tag: $95 a day.
These inmates have at least one thing in common. They're here illegally.
“Soy ilegal,” said Mexican immigrant Guadalupe Villa-Rubio.
“My passport is expired,” said Micronesian immigrant Darius Ludwig.
“I get deported in 2004. So I stay in Mexico for a while. After that, I come back,” said Mexican immigrant Edgar Hernandez-Cortes.
Each are the target of ICE's Criminal Alien Program, an effort by federal authorities to remove all illegal immigrants who've been arrested or convicted.
“They've got a lot to lose. They're going to lose their ability to be in the United States and they're going to be removed, so they may choose to fight it and it can take four or five years,” said Neil Clark, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
It costs $95 a day to provide an inmate with food, shelter and medical supplies. Nationally, about 30,000 people are in custody on immigration holds.
To be clear, the federal government pays for the jail space, not Lane County, but ultimately that's tax payers money.
The Lane County Jail is just one stop in the deportation process for these illegal immigrants on their long journey back to their native country.
64 facilities in Oregon house these sometimes repeat offenders until a judge either rules to let them stay in the country, or turns them over to a detention center in Tacoma, Washington.
From there he or she is usually flown or driven to their homeland, or the illegal immigrant can instead admit to the allegations and request deportation.
Are our communities safer because of this program?
“I think so and when you see some of the crimes these people have been arrested for, I think you'll agree with this,” said Clark.
Illegal aliens from all over Ore. held in the Lane County jail