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Florida Increases Deportations to Open Cell Space

October 28, 1994|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Illegal immigrants charged with crimes will face deportation even before they go to trial under a pilot program announced Thursday by Florida and the federal government.

"Deporting criminal aliens is an important part of the strategy to open up space in our prisons for more dangerous offenders," Gov. Lawton Chiles said.

Florida has already begun deporting some illegal immigrants serving time for nonviolent crimes. Eligible inmates receive clemency in exchange for agreeing to be deported and not return.

In the new program, to be tested for three months, immigrants will be deported after they are charged instead of being brought to trial.

Florida spends about $60 million a year on the 2,700 immigrants in its prisons. The new program came under immediate criticism from civil libertarians and from Chiles' challenger, Republican Jeb Bush. A Bush spokesman dismissed the program as a "political stunt."

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