Non-Citizens Committed a Disproportionate Share of Federal Crimes, 2011-16
21% of those convicted of non-immigration crimes were non-citizens — 2.5 times their share of the population
Because it is easier to make an immigration case, federal prosecutors sometimes charge illegal immigrants only with immigration violations, even when they have committed serious non-immigration crimes. Once convicted, an immigrant will still normally serve some time and then be deported, which is often seen by prosecutors as good enough. This, of course, does not happen with citizens. But because of this, conviction data for non-immigration crimes will tend to understate the level of criminal activity among non-citizens.
Among the findings of the new data:
Areas where non-citizens account for a much larger share of convictions than their 8.4 percent share of the adult population include:
- 42.4 percent of kidnapping convictions;
- 31.5 percent of drug convictions;
- 22.9 percent of money laundering convictions;
- 13.4 percent of administration of justice offenses (e.g. witness tampering, obstruction, and contempt);
- 17.8 percent of economic crimes (e.g. larceny, embezzlement, and fraud);
- 13 percent of other convictions (e.g. bribery, civil rights, environmental, and prison offenses); and
- 12.8 percent of auto thefts.
Areas where non-citizens account for a share of convictions roughly equal to their share of the adult population include:
- 9.6 percent of assaults;
- 8.9 percent of homicides; and
- 7.5 percent of firearm crimes.
Areas where non-citizens account for a share of convictions lower than their share of the adult population include:
- 4.1 percent of sex crimes;
- 3.3 percent of robberies;
- 4.5 percent of arsons; and
- 0 percent of burglaries.
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