Deport alien inmates? It's about time

Is it a wise idea to turn over more than 200 of Nevada's prison inmates to federal immigration officials for deportation, saving the state millions of dollars?

No, that's not a trick question ... the answer is as obvious as it seems.

The state's prisons are overcrowded and a drain on the state's limited finances, and this idea, brokered by Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty, is an excellent way to help fix both problems.

The prisoners being deported are primarily in for drug and property crimes, but it would be a further help if the governments of the two countries could come to an agreement that would send violent and sex offenders in our jails back to their own countries to serve their terms there. Unfortunately, that would require the federal government to act, so nothing is imminent, but it sounds like a worthwhile project for our Congressional delegation.

Hardesty's deportation plan is not without problems. For example, there is no guarantee that some of the deportees won't end up back in Nevada within weeks, meaning the end result would be they simply got out of prison early. As a deterrent, legislators should begin working on a law that would double or triple their prison sentences if they are captured again in Nevada.

Others would argue that some of the first-time offenders have been in this country for years and have started families and careers. It's an unfortunate turn of events, but one they should have considered before committing crimes in the United States.

There's really no compelling reason not to deport the inmates. Unfortunately, we need those cells for our own citizens.


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