Foreign Convicts In Texas Seek Parole In Deportation Bid
October 17, 2011

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Illegal immigrant convicts in Texas prisons are applying for parole and could be deported home under a new state law.

There are currently more than 11,000 foreign convicts in Texas prisons. About half of them are currently eligible for parole. They normally have to serve out their sentences, but the new law allows them to be deported home sooner if they get parole.

Apparently word has reached prison cells.

“We’ve gotten some that have volunteered to be deported for parole,” said Texas Rep. Jerry Madden. “That’s one of the things I got to admit I didn’t ever expect to see happening. But it does clearly point out that there’s an opportunity there for our Board of Pardons and Paroles.”

He said the impetus behind his effort is pure economics — the state could save as much as $200 million by transferring paroled foreign convicts to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (an agency within the Department of Homeland Security) for deportation.

Madden said a good starting point would be to target the 3,000 or so convicts serving time for non-violent offenses. As to why all of a sudden they’d want parole, Madden has a working theory.

“I would suspect that it has to do with the fact that they’d like to be out of prison,” he said.

It still remains unknown how many foreign convicts will actually be deported since the state parole board still has to take up each case individually and can still deny applications.

There has also been a communication problem in the past between the state prison system and Homeland Security, where some foreign convicts who obtained parole were released to the street instead of being deported.