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Immigration officials turn to probation officers for help

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RALEIGH (AP) -- Federal immigration officials have started working closely with local probation officers to detect and deport illegal immigrants.

Federal immigration officers have arrested 219 people from probation offices in ten North Carolina counties since the beginning of the year. Probation officers have started to report clients they think are illegal and then holding mock appointments so immigration officials can round up the suspects.

Community Corrections director Robert Guy says the probation office arrests started late last year. Officials say the arrests will help make the streets safer.

Critics say the probation tactics could jeopardize public safety by forcing the state's estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants into hiding, afraid to report crimes or show up for court.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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