You may recall one of President Trump’s earlier executive orders dealing with Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. Part of that order directed the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to begin compiling data on illegal immigrants who are incarcerated, detailing the immigration status and possible detention or deportation orders for each. The first round of data compilation in accordance with that order has been completed and the DoJ sent out a news release today with the figures. It will probably come as no surprise to at least some of you that the figures are described as “significant.”
There are 45,493 foreign-born inmates currently in BOP custody, of which 3,939 are U.S. citizens (either naturalized or derivative). Of the remaining 41,554 foreign-born inmates (aliens):
- Approximately 22,541 (54.2 percent) are aliens for which final immigration orders have been issued for their removal;
- Approximately 13,886 (33.4 percent) are aliens who are under ICE investigation for possible removal;
- Approximately 5,101 (12.3 percent) are aliens still pending adjudication (in other words, ICE has charged these aliens as removal cases, but a final disposition has not yet been reached); and
- Approximately 26 (0.1 percent) are aliens who have been granted relief on the basis of asylum claims.
Jeff Sessions provided introductory comments in the report, noting that, “Illegal aliens who commit additional crimes in the United States are a threat to public safety and a burden on our criminal justice system.” This will undoubtedly have a number of liberal activists setting their hair on fire, but this really just comes down to math.
The limited data released thus far also demonstrates how inaccurate and dishonest it is for people to conflate the general category of “immigrants’ with “illegal immigrants” in these debates. It’s commonly stated in the mainstream media that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native born citizens. You may actually be able to back up that statement with figures when you’re talking about legal immigrants, but those prison numbers tell the other side of the story. Out of more than 45,000 immigrants (of any immigration status) currently in prison, not even 4,000 of them are clearly identifiable as being in the country legally. More than 36,000 of them are either already under orders for deportation or are under pending investigation for same.
I suppose open borders advocates can look at these figures and say that it’s still not “epidemic” in proportion. Given the size of our country, perhaps you feel that something south of 50,000 prisoners “doesn’t represent that much crime.” But if you ask me, that’s still 50,000 crimes and the same number of victims which we wouldn’t have had to deal with if we had actual border security.