U.S. accused of dumping criminals into Mexico
The Americas Post - Calderon doesn't want so many crooks back
Mexican President Felipe Calderon this week accused the United States of dumping criminals at the border to avoid the cost of prosecuting them, and claimed the practice has increased violence in Mexico’s border region.
US officials have reported a record number of deportations in fiscal year 2011, and said the number deported with criminal convictions had nearly doubled since 2008.
“There are many factors in the violence that is being experienced in some Mexican border cities, but one of those is that the American authorities have gotten into the habit of simply deporting 60 (thousand) or 70,000 migrants per year to cities like Ciudad Juarez or Tijuana,” Calderon said at an immigration conference.
Among them “there are many who really are criminals, who have committed some crime and it is simply cheaper to leave them on the Mexican side of the border than to prosecute them, as they should do, to see whether they are guilty or not,” Calderon complained. “And obviously, they quickly link up with criminal networks on the border.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Tuesday his agency deported nearly 400,000 individuals during the fiscal year that ended in September, the largest number of removals in the agency’s history.
Morton released the 2011 figures in Washington, saying about 55 percent of those deported had criminal convictions. Officials said that number was up 89 percent from 2008. The majority of US migrants, and deportees, are from Mexico.
The U.S. embassy did not comment on Calderon’s speech.
When undocumented Mexicans finish prison terms in the United States, they are transported to the border and released. Both the United States and Mexico are experimenting with new communication channels for deportations, and U.S. officials said that they do warn Mexico when former inmates are considered particularly dangerous.
Mexicans with U.S. criminal records cannot simply be detained in Mexico if they have not violated the law there. Officials in some Mexican border cities have complained about their inability to run criminal background checks on deported inmates to check for pending charges.
One famous deported convict, Martin Estrada Luna, is accused of becoming a cell leader for the Zetas drug cartel in the border state of Tamaulipas just over a year after being deported from the United States. Estrada, who had a long criminal record in Washington state, is now in custody in Mexico City, where he is accused of planning the murders of over 250 people.