Sessions seeks to speed deportation of federal inmates

Jeff Sessions, Sean Spicer
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, talks to the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is announcing a plan to speed up the deportation of immigrants in the country illegally who have been convicted of federal crimes.

Sessions said Thursday that the Justice Department will expand an existing program aimed at holding deportation hearings for immigrants while they are still in federal prison. That effort is known as the Institutional Hearing Program.

Holding such hearings before inmates’ sentences are finished would let the government deport them immediately when they are released.

Sessions, who has made immigration enforcement a key Justice Department priority, says the government owes it to the American public to quickly deport illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.

Under the proposal, 14 federal prisons and six contract facilities will be set up for immigration removal proceedings.