Hans von Spakovsky / December 20, 2021

Federal Report Shows Open Borders Bring Increased Crimes and Costs for Taxpayers

The U.S. is facing one of the worst national security, immigration, and public safety crises in its history.

According to a new report from the U.S. Justice Department, almost half of all of the criminals prosecuted in federal courts in 2018 were aliens, charged with crimes ranging from drug trafficking to murder to kidnapping. While a small number of those over 41,000 criminals were in this country legally, the vast majority — 38,000 — were illegal aliens. Compare this to 1998, when there were only a little over 18,000 aliens prosecuted in federal courts.

In addition to the horrendous human costs of their crimes, when you consider the costs of law enforcement related to their arrest, prosecution, and incarceration, these aliens are also costing U.S. taxpayers a tremendous amount of money. According to the government, the incarceration cost alone for criminals serving time in federal prisons — such as these aliens — is between $35,000 and $40,000 per year per inmate. At the end of 2018, 19 percent of the prisoners in the Federal Bureau of Prisons — 30,848 — were aliens, costing the American taxpayer between one billion and 1.2 billion dollars a year just to house them.

The special report, “Non-U.S. Citizens in the Federal Criminal Justice System, 1998-2018,” goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid using the politically incorrect (but legally correct) term “aliens” in the report. Instead, illegal aliens are referred to as “undocumented non-U.S. citizens.”

Political correctness aside, the report cannot disguise the dangers and costs represented by the raw numbers. In many instances, illegal aliens are repeat offenders. For instance, of the illegal aliens prosecuted in 2018, 12.5 percent had at least one prior federal or state criminal conviction, 18.5 percent had two to four prior convictions, and over 10 percent had five or more convictions. Hispanics dominate the criminal prosecutions, representing 74 percent of the criminal illegal aliens.

The crimes committed by these aliens ranged from drug trafficking to “violent offenses” including murder, sexual assault, robbery, and kidnapping. In fact, 24 percent of all federal prosecutions for drug offenses were of aliens. And we are not talking about simple possession. As the report states, “drug offenses” are defined as the “manufacture, import, export, distribution, and dispensing” of dangerous drugs like methamphetamine. So, aliens are a major source of the debilitating drug problem that is a scourge on our society.

While these numbers are distressing, what’s even more distressing is that they only represent the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of crimes committed in this country are prosecuted at the local level, not the federal level. These federal numbers are only a fraction of the crimes committed by criminal aliens. The latest report from the state of Texas alone, for example, reports that between June 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2021, 356,000 criminal aliens were booked into Texas jails, of which over 243,000 were identified as being in the country illegally. Those illegal aliens were charged with more than 401,000 criminal offenses, including 742 murders, 47,737 assaults, 7,524 burglaries, over 11,000 sexual assaults and other sex crimes, and numerous kidnappings, thefts, robberies, and drug and weapons charges.

Many criminal aliens were convicted of federal immigration offenses, including “smuggling of persons,” a relatively benign-sounding term for human trafficking, a cruel practice that often results in the exploitation, abuse, and sometimes rape or death of its victims.

Eighty percent of aliens were charged with illegal reentry — something that would not be happening if we were actually securing our border. We all know the Biden administration is not interested in doing that. Not only has the administration stopped building the wall that the Trump administration was using successfully to aid the Border Patrol and stem illegal immigration, but it actually wants to dismantle the security barrier. It has ended all of the effective policies the Trump administration had put in place to get border security under control.

The result? Illegal border crossings over the past year reached 1.7 million in October, the highest number of illegal crossings since records began being kept in 1960. It seems the open border advocates Biden appointed have achieved one measure of success — at least by their reckoning. They have intentionally opened America to an unsustainable flood of illegal aliens.

The report also shows the difference between the laissez-faire attitude of the Obama administration versus the “enforce the law” attitude of the Trump administration. From fiscal year 2012, when Obama was re-elected, to fiscal year 2018, the number of aliens prosecuted in the federal courts declined nine percent on average each year. But in the first year of the Trump administration (from 2017 to 2018), the number of prosecutions jumped by 12 percent.

Now, with the Biden administration’s reckless open border policies, the United States is facing one of the worst national security, immigration, and public safety crises in its history, and the government’s own numbers prove it.

Republished from The Heritage Foundation.

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