NEW PENALTIES FOR ILLEG-ALIENS
By DOUGLAS MONTERO, NY Post
Until now, thousands of illegal aliens deported after committing crimes didn't hesitate to sneak back into the New York area, knowing that if they were caught, their "punishment" would be a free flight home.
But under a new federal policy, they're getting free rides to prison instead.
So far, nearly 100 such illegal immigrants have been arrested in the area and charged with "illegal re-entry after removal," which could put them behind bars for a maximum of 20 years, authorities said.
The arrests come two months after Immigration Customs and Enforcement's New York office established the Violent Criminal Alien Section.
One criminal, who has been deported twice on drug charges, told The Post about a $3,000 "van service" that delivers immigrants from the Mexican border directly to New York City.
"Most of us do it because we've lived in New York and we have family and friends there," said the man, who was sent back to the Dominican Republic in 2005 - and then returned to Queens.
John Tsoukaris, a local ICE official, said, "We're focusing on individuals with violent backgrounds who are a threat to the public's safety."
Although the law was enacted in January 2007, ICE has ramped up enforcement under its multipronged Secure Communities program.