The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its findings on the immigration status of federal prison inmates, as mandated in a controversial Executive Order signed during the President Trump’s first week in the White House.
The report reveals that of the 37,557 confirmed immigrants in the federal prison system, 35,334 (94%) of them are in the United States illegally – which means out of a total of 185,507, federally incarcerated individuals, over 19% are confirmed illegal immigrants – which, in 2014, cost U.S. taxpayers $1.87 billion to house.
It should be noted that the 19% figure is based on known illegals in federal prison – while 58,766 individuals are “known or suspected” to be illegal. If we apply the 94% confirmed illegal rate to the “known or suspected” population, it brings the total number of potential incarcerated illegal immigrants to 55,240 – or 30% of federal incarcerations.
(DHS Alien Incarceration Report , Q4 2017)
The report also points out that the federal prison population is roughly 10%, with state and local facilities containing the vast majority of incarcerated individuals in the U.S.
“The American people deserve a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, adding “But at the border and in communities across America, our citizens are being victimized by illegal aliens who commit crimes. Nearly 95 percent of confirmed aliens in our federal prisons are here illegally. We know based on sentencing data that non-citizens commit a substantially disproportionate number of drug-related offenses, which contributes to our national drug abuse crisis. The simple fact is that any offense committed by a criminal alien is ultimately preventable.”
Immigrant rights groups predictably had a major problem with the report, claiming racism and manipulated data.
“The report proves one thing only: The administration will take any opportunity possible to twist facts to demonize immigrants,” said Tom Jawetz, VP for immigration policy at the very liberal Center for American Progress, adding “The vast majority of immigrants in federal prison are there for crimes that only immigrants can be charged with – illegal entry and illegal entry after removal. When you cook the books you shouldn’t pretend to be surprised by the results.”
The January 25th Executive Order, 13768; “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” was designed to use all available resources to deport incarcerated illegals and enforce existing immigration laws. The order states “We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.”
The order calls for the hire of 10,000 additional immigration officers, allows for issuing fines and penalties to unlawful aliens, allows State and local law enforcement agencies to act as immigration officers, and yanks Federal grant money from sanctuary cities – which was later reversed nationwide by a Chicago judge and ruled unconstitutional by Santa Clara County, CA judge William Orrick III.
What wasn’t killed by activist judges, however, was the Executive Order’s mandate to provide quarterly reports on incarcerated immigrants. The EO reads:
To promote the transparency and situational awareness of criminal aliens in the United States, the Secretary and the Attorney General are hereby directed to collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports on the following: (a) the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons;
(b) the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated as Federal pretrial detainees under the supervision of the United States Marshals Service; and
(c) the immigration status of all convicted aliens incarcerated in State prisons and local detention centers throughout the United States.
The Order also sets out enforcement actions, which “shall prioritize for removal those aliens described by the Congress… …removable aliens who:
(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense; (b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;
(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or
(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
One oustanding question now is what will a seemingly sleepwalking Jeff Sessions do about it?
In May, Sessions announced the expansion and modernization of the Justice Department’s Institutional Hearing Program, which is responsible for deportation hearings of incarcerated individuals. The measures are intended to fast-track the deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, which according to Sessions, will speed up the process by removing the criminal immigrant as soon as their sentence is complete – as opposed to sending them to another facility to await deportation.
“We owe it to the American people to ensure that illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes and are serving time in our federal prisons are expeditiously removed from our country as the law requires,” Sessions said in a statement.
Sessions’ May proposal established 14 federal prisons and six contract facilities for deportation proceedings, which the Attorney General says is a top priority going forward.