For Immediate Release May 30, 2000
The United States and Portugal have agreed to a protocol to smooth removal
procedures for deportees from both countries. Since the implementation of
the United States' 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility
Act, the Portuguese government had raised concerns about the arrival and resettlement
of increasing numbers of deportees of Portuguese citizens who had committed crimes
in the United States. Many of the deportees were born in the Azores and after being
deported from the United States chose to return to the Azores rather than to "mainland"
Portugal. The transfer of several hundred deportees from the United States over the last
few years to the small, isolated islands, where violent crime is almost non-existent,
has met with some objections from Azores' residents. The protocol agreed to today includes
more timely notification by U.S. authorities on the deportation of Portuguese citizens who
have committed crimes in the United States.