Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, who has been in the forefront of the regional debate over illegal immigration, has turned his attention to jail inmates.
A month after the county began reporting foreign-born inmates to federal authorities on a daily - rather than weekly - basis, the number of prisoners being released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation has jumped significantly, Leopold announced yesterday.
From Jan. 1 to March 6, three county inmates were released to ICE. Since the new reporting system went into effect last month, 13 of 45 inmates reported to ICE have been released into its custody; of the 45, more than half were identified as possible candidates for deportation.
With weekly reporting, a significant number of inmates were released before ICE could fully investigate, Leopold said.
In August, Leopold issued an order requiring government contractors to sign an affidavit that they do not employ people living in the country illegally.
In November, a county police officer was permanently assigned to the ICE Baltimore field office. In addition, one officer from each of the four county police districts received specialized training on ICE and documenting fraud.