The number of crimes committed by foreign nationals in this country should be near zero. Why? Our allowance of immigration is a choice, and we should only be admitting the best of the best. To the extent we make a mistake with legal immigration or to the extent that there are illegal aliens, they should be immediately deported.
Yet thanks to our weak policies, a new report from the DHS and the DOJ paints a picture of crime and mayhem by foreign nationals. They are bringing drugs into this country and needlessly clogging up our federal criminal justice and prison system. A proper focus on expedited deportation and ending sanctuary cities would go a long way toward reducing crime, making illicit drugs less obtainable and more expensive, and saving money in our criminal justice system, a goal that is obsessively pursued by interest groups in both parties.
According to the report, there are a whopping 57,820 foreign nationals in DOJ custody. This includes 38,132 known or suspected aliens sitting in Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities post-conviction and 19,688 confirmed aliens in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service (USMS), mainly pretrial detainees but also those already sentenced to short sentences or awaiting transfer to BOP custody. That alone accounts for 37 percent of those in the custody of USMS. There are several thousand more suspected but unconfirmed non-citizens in custody. These are all people in the regular federal criminal justice system, not in the immigration system under the auspices of ICE. The report is prepared every quarter at the direction of President Trump’s original executive order on immigration calling for an accounting of criminal aliens in the criminal justice system.
Here’s the kicker: 46 percent (17,621) of known or suspected aliens in BOP custody had committed drug trafficking or other drug-related offenses.
We are witnessing a newfound obsession in both parties with the cost of incarceration and the idea that too many people are sitting in prison for drug offenses (that they mischaracterize as simple possession rather than trafficking). But the drug population is only this prominent in the federal system, which only represents 11 percent of the incarcerated population. Most people are incarcerated in state facilities. And now we know, such a large percentage of them are in the federal system because of their immigration status. Thus, rather than a crisis of too many being incarcerated for drug charges, we have a crisis of too many illegal aliens bringing drugs into the country and then clogging our criminal justice system while poisoning our people.
As we’ve noted before, most illicit drug importation and distribution involves foreign nationals. If we only got immigration policy right – built the wall, ended incentives for amnesty and bogus asylum, outlawed sanctuary cities, and expedited deportations – we would not only alleviate the drug problem, we would stop clogging up the federal criminal justice system with other countries’ criminals. As the report notes, “68 percent (13,449) of all aliens in USMS custody were apprehended in the southwest region.”
Yet the same people pushing for “criminal justice reform” are the people who support the very immigration problems that have created this problem. If we would forge a bipartisan agreement to immediately deport many of these criminal aliens in DOJ custody (aside from those paying a debt of justice to individual victims or national security concerns like El Chapo), we would save a lot of money. If we stopped coddling criminal aliens and immediately deported them or had states immediately turn them over to ICE, they wouldn’t have to be in DOJ custody or clogging up state and local jails.
Moreover, if we implemented border and interior enforcement and ended all amnesty magnets, we wouldn’t have illegal immigration, and therefore, we would not have robust transnational drug cartel networks operating undetected in our country. Many downstream and secondary American drug traffickers would never have the opportunity to get involved in the drug trade, which in itself would reduce the flow of drug criminals into both federal and state prison. More importantly, fewer people would die.
This point was driven home by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Every crime committed by an illegal alien is, by definition, a crime that should have been prevented,” he said in the press release. “It is outrageous that tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year because of the drugs and violence brought over our borders illegally and that taxpayers have been forced, year after year, to pay millions of dollars to incarcerate tens of thousands of illegal aliens.”
This point is underscored by data cited by the DOJ for Texas’s criminal justice system. According to the DHS and the Texas Department of Public Safety, over 251,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011, and April 30, 2018. They have been charged for a total of 663,000 offenses including:
Law enforcement actions have resulted in 296,000 convictions. The DHS has confirmed that 66 percent of those convicted were illegal aliens.
This is simply mind-blowing, but the report paints an even more dire picture. DHS notes that the numbers “do not account for all aliens in the Texas criminal justice system, as they are limited to criminal alien arrestees who have had prior interaction with DHS resulting in the collection of their fingerprints.” One can imagine that in any given year, 40-60 percent of illegal aliens are never identified by DHS but commit crime in the 50 states, particularly in the Southwest. If California was actually willing to provide the same comprehensive data Texas offers, it’s quite obvious the illegal alien crime burden it would reveal would be unconscionable.
There is much debate over the crime levels of immigrants. We discussed one aspect of it here. But these are all avoidable crimes. With clear enforcement and deterrent, along with immediate deportation of those who manage to get in or legal immigrants who commit crimes, we could avoid all of this and deal with our own domestic crime problem.
Also, for those in politics who don’t care about crime but are bothered by the cost of the criminal justice system, they need to understand that open borders are responsible for much of the direct cost. The report estimates that the cost of just those aliens housed in U.S. Marshal custody was $134 million just for one quarter! One can imagine the annual cost of combined total BOP and state custody.
“Criminal justice reform” for the federal system begins with border and interior enforcement on the immigration side. If we want to save both lives and money by deterring crime at its source, we need to be tough on crime and the border, not weak on both, as advocated by the political class and special interests.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.