A new federal report shows non-citizens in the United States commit nearly half of all federal crimes or more than six times their proportion to the American population.
For 2017, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows non-citizens comprise about 7 percent of the country’s population, but the 2018 Annual Report and Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics show they committed more than 40 percent of all federal crimes.
The United States Sentencing Commission reviewed 321,000 sentencing documents in the fiscal year 2018 and outlined several statistics in the annual report:
In fiscal year 2018, the courts reported 69,425 felony and Class A misdemeanor cases to the Commission. This represents an increase of 2,552 cases from the prior fiscal year, and the first increase since fiscal year 2011.
The race of federal offenders remained largely unchanged from prior years. In fiscal year 2018, 54.3 percent of all offenders were Hispanic, 21.2 percent were White, 20.6 percent were Black, and 3.8 percent were of another race. Non-U.S. Citizens accounted for 42.7 percent of all federal offenders.
Immigration cases accounted for the largest single group of offenses in fiscal year 2018, comprising 34.4 percent of all reported cases. Cases involving drugs, firearms, and fraud were the next most common types of offenses after immigration cases. Together these four types of offenses accounted for 82.9 percent of all cases reported to the Commission in fiscal year 2018.
A breakdown of crimes in the report shows about 92 percent of immigration crimes, or about 21,835 cases, involved non-citizens. But they also committed other crimes at far higher rates than their 7 percent proportion of the population as a whole.
Cases involving drug possession, for example, were nearly evenly split between citizens and non-citizens with 361 and 339, respectively. In other words, non-citizens violated federal drug possession laws at a rate roughly seven times higher than citizens.
Statistics were similar for violations of national defense, with 30 percent of cases involving non-citizens, as well as money laundering at 27 percent, drug trafficking at 24 percent and murder at 18 percent. Other crimes committed at higher rates include kidnapping, fraud/theft/embezzlement, extortion/racketeering, burglary, assault, “commercialized vice,” and environmental crimes, among others.
The largest numbers of crimes occurred in border states, and areas with sanctuary policies. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, and southern California were among the most heavily concentrated areas for federal crimes. Data in the Sentencing Commission’s report show the Fifth Circuit Court covering Texas and the Ninth Circuit Court covering California and Arizona are the busiest, with about 26 and 20 percent of cases, respectively.
In the vast majority of cases involving both citizens and non-citizens – 87.8 percent – the offenders were sentenced to prison. For the roughly 29,000 non-citizens convicted of federal crimes in the fiscal year 2018, that statistic was 98.5 percent, according to the report.