Despite making up only seven percent of the U.S. population, non-U.S. citizens accounted for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of all federal arrests last year, according to newly released government numbers.
The statistics are part of a report issued Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics titled “Immigration, Citizenship, and the Federal Justice System, 1998-2018.”
“In 1998, 63% of all federal arrests were of U.S. citizens,” the report explains. “In 2018, 64% of all federal arrests were of non-U.S. citizens.”
The report explains during the 20-year time frame, arrests of non-citizens “more than tripled” while citizen arrests rose 10 percent.
One of the places where immigrant arrests have risen most sharply is, not surprisingly, the southern U.S. border.
There are five federal judicial districts along the border: The Southern District of California, the District of Arizona, the District of New Mexico, the Western District of Texas, and the Southern District of Texas. The percentage of federal arrests in these districts have increased from 33% in 1998 to 65% in 2018.
Those districts also saw a quarter (25.1 percent) of federal drug arrests in 2018. And these numbers are only for five federal judicial districts out of the total 94.
Furthermore, as the U.S. has faced a border crisis primarily driven by migration from Central America, the number of Central Americans arrested in the border districts increased from 13,549 in 2017 to 37,590 in 2018. There were 1,171 total federal arrests of Central Americans in 1998.
The report also finds that among prosecutions in U.S. district court, only .3 percent of non-citizens were tried for first-time illegal entry. Of the remaining majority of non-citizen prosecutions, 72 percent were for illegal re-entry, 13 percent were for drug charges, and 4.5 percent were for fraud.
Meanwhile, federal immigration crime arrests almost doubled between 2017 and 2018, from 58,031 to 108,667.
Thursday’s numbers further back up immigration enforcement hawks’ long-standing contention that increased levels of illegal immigration go hand in hand with increases in other crime.
The Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughn explained to the Washington Examiner that the new BJS numbers run contrary to open borders advocates’ attempts to dismiss illegal immigration’s threat to public safety, especially when it comes to sanctuary jurisdictions.
“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,” Vaughn said. “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.”