Last year, then-Gov.Ted Kulongoski quietly commuted the sentences of 44 illegal-resident inmates, clearing the way for them to be turned over to federal authorities so they could be deported faster.
Forty-two of the 44 came to this country illegally from Mexico, records show.
Kulongoski cut short their prison sentences as part of a state program aimed at pruning incarceration costs by turning over for early deportation some nonviolent illegal immigrant criminals — all within six months of their release dates.
Now, the underachieving, short-lived program is headed for extinction.
Gov. John Kitzhaber, who took office in January, plans to let it "sunset" July 1.
Oregon's prisons currently hold 14,026 inmates; 1,289 of them are in the country illegally, according to the Corrections Department.
The daily cost of incarceration for an Oregon inmate is $84. By extension, the yearly cost for housing 1,289 illegal immigrant inmates would total about $39.5 million.
That's $39.5 million a year to feed and house criminal aliens in the department of corrections. That doesn't include the inmates in the county jails, that doesn't include the cost to prosecute them, that doesn't include the cost to provide them with lawyers and that doesn't include the human cost of the victims.
The Statesman Journal could do some real investigative reporting by taking the names of illegal aliens in DOC custody and checking to see if they have drivers licenses, are registered to vote, have an Oregon Trail card, check their employment history, etc.
These people didn't materialize the day they raped or murdered someone, they were able to live here by working and getting assistance from the state whether in the form of welfare, identification, an ITIN or just the reassurance that local law enforcement won't bother them for being here illegally.
We always get the life story about the most sympathetic illegal alien the media can find, how about tracking back the guy who stole an $18/hour job? Tell us who that employer was! Find out if he stole someone's SSN and caused chaos in the victims life due to the identity theft. Find out if he had been arrested for DUII but the courts let him go. Find out if he has three kids and the family lives in taxpayer paid housing.
I wish someone would do that story.