Criminal Aliens:

INS Enforcement

T-GGD-90-6: Published: Nov 1, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) strategy for dealing with aliens involved in criminal activities. GAO noted that: (1) the INS enforcement process begins when its investigators identify aliens within the federal, state, or local criminal justice systems; (2) INS can either notify agencies to turn aliens over to INS after they are released from custody, or issue orders for deportation hearings; (3) the 1989 INS investigation budget represented a 90-percent increase in positions and a 100-percent increase in funding over 1986; (4) the percentage of foreign-born arrestees in most areas was comparable to the percentage of foreign-born population; (5) the INS strategy is not effective in dealing with deportable aliens who receive probationary or suspended sentences, because INS waits until aliens are incarcerated before beginning its investigations; (6) INS was running a pilot program in four cities to take a more proactive role in identifying criminal aliens; (7) various legislation has directed INS to more aggressively seek deportation for alien felons; and (8) the deportation process is further complicated by appeals, aliens' failure to appear for scheduled hearings, and immigration judges' reluctance to deport aliens in absentia.

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