Oklahoma will begin deporting illegal immigrants who are serving sentences for nonviolent crimes when a new law takes effect July 1. The Oklahoma Criminal Illegal Alien Rapid Repatriation Act is expected to save Oklahoma taxpayers at least $4 million in the first year, said Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, the author of the measure. The bill passed the House unanimously and received just one no vote in the Senate. Terrill, who has authored several bills concerning illegal immigration, said the legislation is an attempt to get the federal government to pick up the tab for housing people who are in the country illegally. "The federal government has fallen down on protecting the nation’s borders,” Terrill said. "The federal government has improperly shifted the cost to the states. This is a way to shift it back to them,” he said. The law will allow an offender who is in the country illegally to be considered for deportation if they have been convicted of a nonviolent crime and have served a third of their sentence. Federal officials must issue an order for deportation, and an offender cannot be deported if they have pending federal charges, said Carl Rusnok, director of communications for the central region of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. If an undocumented immigrant returns to the state, they can be sent back to prison to serve the remaining sentence and additional time if prosecuted for entering the United States illegally after being deported, Rusnok said. The law prohibits private prisons from contracting to house federal detainees, such as prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and requires private prisons to get Corrections Department approval for new construction plans. The law also limits the types of offenders that private prisons may house in Oklahoma. The Board of Corrections can fine or close private prisons that do not adhere to the provisions. Oklahoma’s prison population includes 511 inmates who are in the country illegally and serving prison sentences. Of those, 230 inmates already have served a third of their sentence and would be eligible for the program this year, according to figures from the Corrections Department. The state pays $19,798 to house an offender for a year. Corrections officials already have been in contact with federal immigration officials to discuss a plan to transfer inmates, said Jerry Massie, agency spokesman. After a few policy changes are made to reflect the language of the new law, offenders could be turned over to federal custody as soon as next month, Massie said. Transferring offenders would not happen until final deportation orders are issued and could be done on a staggered basis, Rusnok said. "It’s not like they will go immediately into” federal custody, Rusnok said. "We will work closely with Oklahoma agencies to make sure these people are properly identified and that not everybody comes to us at once when the program becomes effective.” New York and Arizona have saved money by sending illegal immigrants back to their home countries.