By Mark Memmott
"Criminal Deportees Often Fly Unescorted".
That's the headline in today's Houston Chronicle, which reports that:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials routinely put illegal immigrants unescorted on commercial flights for deportation, including some who are sex offenders or have other criminal records, according to documents and field agent accounts. ...
Of the 27,899 illegal immigrants put on commercial airlines last year for deportation, more than 75% flew unescorted, according to ICE data. ...
ICE has coordinated the removal of 7,552 illegal immigrants classified as "criminal aliens" via commercial flights since Oct. 1, at a cost of nearly $44 million, according to ICE. ICE officials did not say how many of those "criminal aliens" were unescorted. The agency also did not respond to a request for the number of incidents and disruptions on commercial flights.
The Chronicle documents three cases of sexual predators who were allowed to fly without escorts. Pat Reilly, an ICE spokeswoman, tells the newspaper that cases are considered individually and deportees are allowed to fly alone if they're judged to be of no danger to the public.