The Department of Justice says that arrests of non-citizens has skyrocketed more than 200 percent over the last 20 years, so that now, fully 64 percent of of federal arrests are of non-citizens.
The newly released statistics feed the Trump administration’s narrative that an increase in immigration, especially illegal immigration, has fed a spike in crime.
Immigration expert Jessica M. Vaughan said the increase in arrests is due to increasing prosecution of illegal entry and re-entry by migrants. “Experience has taught the immigration agencies and DOJ that this works to reduce recidivism – in other words, when illegal crossers face some more severe consequence than just being sent back home, they don’t keep doing it,” she explained.
I’m dubious of the deterrent value in prosecuting illegal entry — especially since once freed from custody, the illegal alien usually has the opportunity to disappear.
But I imagine that the astonishing number of non-citizens being arrested has a lot to do with the growth of foreign criminal organizations in the U.S.
Over that 20-year period, groups such as MS-13 have surged, first in urban areas and recently into rural communities, and drug and human trafficking have also increased over the U.S.-Mexico border.
Justice was very pointed in comparing U.S. citizens arrested to noncitizens. For example, it noted that while they make up just 7% of the U.S. population, noncitizens account for 15% of the arrests by federal authorities, 24% of drug arrests, 25% of federal property arrests, including 28% of all federal fraud arrests.
Not just a statistical anomaly, then. But the focus of federal authorities still appears to be immigration enforcement.
“20 years, 95% of the increase in federal arrests was due to immigration crimes. From 1998 to 2018, federal immigration arrests increased 5-fold (from 20,942 to 108,667), rising more than 50,000 in one year from 2017 to 2018,” said the Justice Department.
Ms. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, points out the fallacy in arguments made by pro-immigration advocates that illegals are not involved in crimes.
“Opponents of immigration enforcement are obsessed with trying to establish that illegal aliens and legal immigrants commit fewer crimes than Americans, and so, as their narrative goes, local law enforcement agencies should not cooperate with ICE and should adopt sanctuary policies. This is first of all not true, but is off-point and a dangerous conclusion. What these numbers show is that there are certain types of crime that are disproportionately associated with illegal aliens: drug trafficking, certain gang crimes, and identity theft and document fraud,” she told Secrets.
I think the answer to why the huge increase in non-citizen arrests has more to do with globalization than anything. Our borders are porous, but the number of foreigners legally entering the U.S. is also up — the result of a perceived need for foreign workers, as well as foreign companies setting up shop in America. The number of visas is also up. So we have more people coming into the country — most for legitimate reasons, but many with illegal intentions.
The illegal alien problem is only part of the problem. We simply don’t do a good enough job vetting new arrivals. Criminals see the United States as an easy mark.
That’s got to change.