WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is expanding immigration checks to nearly all local jails, which could sharply increase U.S. deportation cases, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
Expanding the program could result in a tenfold increase in illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and identified for deportation, the report said, citing current and former U.S. officials.
The program, initiated by former President George W. Bush, began in October and operates in 48 counties, the Post said.
It also operates in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Boston and Phoenix. It would expand to nearly all local jails by the end of 2012, the Post said, citing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service.
Federal and state prisons already check the immigration status of inmates. But authorities lack the time and staff to do the same at local jails, which house up to twice as many illegal immigrants at any time, the article said.
Obama is seeking $200 million for the program in his proposed 2010 budget, a 30 percent increase that puts it on track to receive $1.1 billion by 2013, the newspaper said.