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The Department of Justice is moving forward with an initiative to more efficiently deport criminal aliens.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday the expansion of the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP), which conducts removal hearings immediately after an illegal alien has completed a sentence in a federal prison.

Many criminal aliens are transferred to ICE detention facilities or released pending an immigration hearing. The IHP is designed to allow immigration judges to make a determination of removability while the inmate is still serving a sentence.

“We owe it to the American people to ensure that illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes and are serving time in our federal prisons are expeditiously removed from our country as the law requires,” Sessions said in a statement. “This expansion and modernization of the Institutional Hearing Program gives us the tools to continue making Americans safe again in their communities.”

IHP identifies removable criminal aliens in federal prisons and then carries out removal proceedings in person or by video teleconference. The DOJ claims that sending immigration judges to inmates will save time and resources.

The program is coordinated by the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Bureau of Prisons, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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