Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - One of the issues that Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen dealt with in the hour-long phone conversation we had on the Friday KGVO Talk Back show was that there are a rapidly growing number of illegal non-English speaking immigrants in the construction business, specifically in Gallatin County.

“Unfortunately it is a federal matter,” began Knudsen. “It is extremely frustrating to us because that is certainly a problem that we are seeing. We're not just seeing it in Gallatin County, but it certainly is a larger problem in Gallatin County. You've got a huge housing and building boom there, whether it's in Bozeman or whether it's at Big Sky (resort) and we do see a larger number of undocumented illegals. This has become a very difficult issue for us.”

Attorney General Knudsen Described Difficulties with Illegal Workers

Knudsen said the non-English speaking or reading workers have caused traffic safety problems in Gallatin County.

“Just think of the Montana Highway Patrol,” he said. “You've got non-English speaking non-English reading folks who are driving the wrong way driving on the interstate in Bozeman. I won't say all, but much of the issue is undocumented immigrants who are coming in and they don't speak the language. They can't read the signs and they just pull on the interstate going the wrong way. Obviously, that's a bad situation.”

Knudsen said Federal Officials must Deal with Illegal Workers

Knudsen described what happens when these individuals have a run-in with law enforcement officers.

“It's extremely frustrating for Montana law enforcement because when we apprehend these individuals,” he said. “If they commit a state crime, certainly we can prosecute them, but at some point, they have to be handed over to Homeland Security, and what we're finding out is that unless someone committed an extremely bad felony, they're not deported.”

READ MORE: Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen Running for Reelection

Knudsen said Arrested Illegal Workers are being Released

Knudsen provided a surprising statement about how the federal justice system is handling the issue here in Montana.

“The Federal corrections system has raised the requirements for state jails so high that no jails in the state qualify under the new federal guidelines to hold these illegal aliens,” he said. “Why would you do that?  You do that to make sure that they don't get held (in custody) and they get released; and that's what's happening in our state.”

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