It’s hard to know how many illegal aliens are currently being housed in America’s federal prison system. A recent Pew Research study revealed the federal government charged a total of 20,762 defendants with immigration crimes in 2016 alone (although that number had dropped a significant 26 percent from 2011). About 92 percent of these cases were brought against persons who were in the country illegally.
Sessions and the DOJ are seeking to reverse this trend, taking one of the first steps Thursday to speed up the immigration hearing and removal process of criminal aliens by increasing the number of immigration hearings they can conduct via teleconference. Here’s how it works, via the DOJ:
The [Institutional Hearing Program] identifies removable criminal aliens who are inmates in federal correctional facilities, provides in-person and video teleconference (VTC) immigration removal proceedings, and removes the alien upon completion of sentence, rather than releasing the alien to an ICE detention facility or into the community for adjudication of status. Bringing an Immigration Judge to the inmate for a determination of removability, rather than vice versa, saves time and resources and speeds hearings.