Home > crime, immigration > Illegal Immigrants Cause 6% of Crime , which Costs$24 Billion

Illegal Immigrants Cause 6% of Crime , which Costs$24 Billion

April 30th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

David Wilson pointed out flaws in my earlier post on crime and illegal immigrants. My numbers were way off, but even when cut they support my ultimate conclusion: the cost of crime by illegal aliens wipes out the economic gains from them. And this is true even if it were to be the case, as Mr. Wilson suggests, illegal aliens have a lower propensity to commit crime—adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, etc. — than citizens do. (That’s because for the question of how much they harm the U.S. , one shouldn’t adjust: what matters is how much crime they commit in total, not how much crime they would commit if they were old and female.)

Note that even corrected, my estimates are still just a weblog estimate, not up to the standards for first draft for an academic working paper, though that doesn’t mean they aren’t the best available (somebody *should* do a serious study of this). What would be really useful would be a survey of a random sample of those imprisoned in state and federal prisons and jails.

My numbers were indeed way off. The big problem was my use of the SCAAP numbers for the number of illegal aliens in jail during the year. I compared that to the number of people in jail measured on one particular day. Since jails are for terms of less than one year, there will be a lot more people in and out during the year than are in jail during any one day.

My latest estimate is that 6.1% of crime is by illegal aliens, and it imposes a cost of 24 billion dollars per year. The reasoning is below. (The percentage is exactly the same as David Wilson’s but that is an odd coincidence; he includes jails and gets 6.1% as 131,000/ 2,135,335).

Here are some numbers on inmates of “prisons” (a term of art which means state and federal prisons, places where criminals serve sentences of one year or more, as opposed to jails, which are run by cities and counties for lesser offenders). K means “thousand”.

From the Justice Dept. source on prison data: Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/p06.htm, or http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/pjim06.pdf Appendix Table 6: In prisons: 33K federal, 57K state noncitizens on June 30, 2006. Total: 90K. Table 12: Prisoners in custody: 181K federal, 1290K state. Total: 1471K. Fraction noncitizen: 90/1471= 6.1%.

If there are 10.5 million illegal aliens, then their imprisonment rate is 90/10500 = 0.85%. There are 308 thousand Hispanics in prison p06t07.csv out of a population of 44.3 million (Stat Abs. Table 6), about 0.69%. Thus, illegal aliens aren’t much different from hispanics in percentage imprisoned. That is surprising, since I would think the illegals would have fewer women and children to bring down the criminality rate. The overall US imprisonment rate is 1471/297000=.50%. The white (nonblack, nonHispanic) rate is .27% (= (478+49)/198000 ) and the black (nonhispanic) rate is 1.56% (=(534+28)/36000).

The prison data has some problems. It is not just for the 10 million or so illegal aliens, but for all noncitizens, which includes the 12 million or so legal aliens (people with green cards, tourists, etc.) (10.5 million illegal aliens from the Statistical Abstract: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/08s0046.pdf The total population was 296,639,000, That’s about 3.4% illegals.) (Legal aliens in 2005: 20.7-10.5 million. Table 44 SA http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/08s0044.pdf) Also, (1) some states don’t report, (2) some states report jails as well as prisons, and (3) some states report all foreign-born, not just illegal aliens.

Also, from GAO report number GAO-05-337R, ‘Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails’ which was released on May 9, 2005, criminal aliens incarcerated in federal prisons were 49K at year-end 2004, a lot more than the 33K above; and in fiscal year 2002-SCAAP reimbursed states for 77K criminal aliens. The 77K is compatible with the 57K above, since it’s 4 years apart and not just year-end (some people even with sentences of over a year will have left by year-end).

Anyway, if illegal aliens are 6.1% of crime (making the further assumption that the percentage in prisons is equal to the percentage of crime generally,including less serious crime), then if crime costs $400 billion per year, crime by illegal aliens costs 24 billion dollars per year. That is about equal to the June 20, 2007 CEA report Immigration’s Economic Impact, which says immigration has a net benefit of $30 billion per year, which includes both legal and illegal immigrants.

May 3: A survey of illegal immigrants who applied for amnesty around 1989 found that of working-age adults, just 57% were male and 12% worked in agriculture. 37% had 9 or more years of schooling, which is below the American average, but above the Mexican average (p. 884 of Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States
Gordon H. Hanson, Journal of Economic Literature,
Page 1. The Journal of Economic Literature Vol. 44, No. 4, December 2006)

Categories: crime, immigration Tags:
  1. zeezil
    February 26th, 2009 at 21:42 | #1

    The Forgotten Issue: Illegal Immigration and Crime

    Two new studies were released in October on the relationship between illegal immigrants and crime in the U.S. The first released October 1, 2008, by the Center for Immigration Studies deals with gang activity, and the second, released October 3, 2008, by the Maricopa County Attorneys Office in Phoenix, Arizona, details the percentage of crimes committed by border violators in the third largest county in the U.S.

    "Taking Back the Streets: ICE and Local Law Enforcement Target Immigrant Gangs" is the Center for Immigration Studies report that offers these highlights:

    # Transnational immigrant gangs have been spreading rapidly and sprouting in suburban and rural areas where communities are not always equipped to deal with them.

    # A very large share of immigrant gang members are illegal aliens and removable aliens. Federal sources estimate that 60 to 90 percent of the members of MS-13, the most notorious immigrant gang, are illegal aliens. In one jurisdiction studied, Northern Virginia, 30 to 40 percent of the gang task force case load were removable aliens.

    # MS-13 activity was found in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

    # The immigrant gangsters arrested were a significant menace to the public. About 80 percent had committed serious crimes in addition to their immigration violations and 40 percent were violent criminals.

    # While immigration law enforcement is a federal responsibility, ICE cannot do the job effectively without assistance from state and local law enforcement, particularly when it comes to immigrant gangs.

    # Failure to adequately control the U.S.-Mexico border and to deter illegal settlement in general undermines the progress ICE and local law enforcement agencies have made in disrupting criminal immigrant street gangs.
    For full report, see: http://www.cis.org/ImmigrantGangs

    For VIDEO summary of the report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTRvXYuBgYQ&eurl=http://www.cis.org/ImmigrantGangsVideo

    The MCAO report from County Attorney Andrew Thomas features these startling numbers for prosecuted felony cases in Maricopa County, Arizona:

    In 2007, illegal immigrants accounted for:

    10% of sex crimes convictions
    11% of murders convictions
    13% of stolen cars convictions
    13% of aggravated assaults convictions
    17% of those sentenced for violent crimes
    19% of those sentenced for property crimes
    20% of those sentenced for felony DUI.
    21% of crimes committed with weapons
    34% of those sentenced for the manufacture, sale or transport of drugs
    36% of those sentenced for kidnapping
    44% of forgeries
    50% of those sentenced for crimes related to "chop shops"
    85% of false ID convictions
    96% of smuggling convictions

    Illegal immigrants make up 19 percent of those convicted of crimes in Maricopa County and 21 percent of those in county jails.

    Illegal immigrants only make up an estimated 9 percent of the county’s population.

    It is estimated that each violent crime cost citizens $20,000, and each property crime cost citizens $4363 per offense.

    All the more a concern is research that finds the likelihood of an illegal immigrant being incarcerated grows with longer residence in the United States and that the U.S. born children (considered citizens) of illegal immigrants are dramatically more likely to be involved in crime than their illegal immigrant parents. For instance, native born Hispanic male high school dropouts are eleven times more likely to be incarcerated than their foreign born counterparts.

  2. zeezil
    July 21st, 2008 at 13:51 | #2

    If the illegality of illegal immigration and the tremendous cost burden to American taxpayers, our economy, our society and our culture doesn’t infuriate you, then look over just a few studies that put illegal alien crime in focus:

    (1) Violating the immigration law is a CRIME
    (2) Forging documents is a FELONY CRIME
    (3) Passing forged documents is a FELONY CRIME
    (4) Stealing ID is a FELONY CRIME
    (5) Using stolen ID is a FELONY CRIME

    A US GAO study found in a study population of 55,322 illegal aliens incarcerated, on average, each had been arrested 8 times for a total arrest figure of at least 459,614 times. If that isn't astounding enough, these 55,322 illegals in the study population had been arrested for committing 700,000 criminal offenses, which averages 13 crimes per illegal alien. So, each illegal alien incarcerated had been arrested 8 times and had committed at least 13 crimes.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, in 2005, 25% of prisoners in federal prisons were illegal aliens, and 4% were legal aliens. This proportion has not gone down; if anything, it has gone up markedly. Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Institute states that today, illegal aliens make up twenty nine percent of the U.S. prison population. Bill O'Reilly is on record more recently stating that illegal aliens account for 32% of the federal and state prison population.

    The US Justice Department reported that in 2003, alone, 270,000 illegal immigrants had served prison time. The Federation for American Immigration Reform reports: "In March 2000, Congress made public Department of Justice statistics showing that, over the previous five years, the INS had released over 35,000 criminal aliens instead of deporting them. Over 11,000 of those released went on to commit serious crimes, over 1,800 of which were violent ones; including 98 homicides, 142 sexual assaults, and 44 kidnappings. In 2001, thanks to a decision by the Supreme Court, the INS was forced to release into our society over 3,000 criminal aliens who collectively had been convicted of 125 homicides, 387 sex offenses, and 772 assault charges." http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/3/27/114208.shtml?s=ic

    According to the well-respected U.S. Center for Immigration Studies (www.cis.org), incarcerated convicted illegal aliens make up 29 percent of federal, state and local prisons at a cost of more than $1.6 billion annually. This number doubles when the costs for apprehension, the justice system, public defenders, interpreters, prosecutors and the courts add to the total.

    Illegals represent about 8 percent of Arizona's population and the Arizona Department of Corrections reports that Mexican nationals make up 12 percent of the state's 37,200-inmate prison population.

    Undocumented aliens, mostly from Mexico and Central America, now total 1953 inmates in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s jail system. That number represents 21 percent of the overall inmate population of men and women housed in the nation’s third largest jail system. Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that is just small part of the story about those incarcerated in his jails. He says that recent figures show that serious crime (class four felonies and above) are committed substantially by illegal aliens. During two recent surveys, between 27 and 53 percent of all suspects booked into the jail on serious felonies had immigration holds placed on them. The vast majority of those with holds were in the United States illegally. According to the Sheriff’s figures, illegal alien inmate population numbers have grown steadily in Arizona and other border states over the last several years. In March 2005, the illegal alien population in Arpaio’s jails totaled approximately 700. (Borderfire Report 2/28/08 )

    A new study shows one in five inmates in North Carolina metropolitan jails were not born in this country. The Sheriff’s Association believes a large number of those inmates are here illegally as well. (News 14 Carolina 2/21/08 )

    Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation contacted DHS Secretary Chertoff requesting an additional 22 ICE agents for deportations and to investigate crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. "Our jails are full. The crime rates continue to increase, and we can no longer let this problem escalate," reads one of the letters, signed by Utah's two senators and three representatives. Numerous illegal aliens are committing crimes in Utah communities with virtual impunity," The state now has 25 such agents. (Salt Lake Tribune, 03/05/2008 )

    The Federation for Immigration Reform contends that while illegal immigrants made up 3 percent of the total U.S. population in 2003 they made up 5 percent of the total prison population. http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=research_illegalsandcrime

    The Violent Crimes Institute conducted a study in 2006 that determined there were more than 100 sex offenders crossing our southern border daily. Data indicates that there are approximately 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each, totaling over one million sex crimes.

    Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, says a report from Family Security Matters that estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the U.S. The group says that number is more than 15 percent of all the murders reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. and about three times the representation of illegal aliens in the general population.

    The report from FSM estimates that the 267,000 illegal aliens currently incarcerated in the nation are responsible for nearly 1,300,000 crimes, ranging from drug arrests to rape and murder. Such statistics debunk the claim that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. http://www.gopusa.com/news/2007/february/0222_illegals_report.shtml

    Crimes committed by alien criminals costs U.S. taxpayers $1.6 billion in prison costs alone. The figure doesn’t include the cost of lost property, medical bills of the victims, lost work time for injury recovery, higher insurance costs, etc. –Tom DeWeese, President of American Policy Institute.

    In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens. The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave: City Journal, winter 2004 http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_1_the_illegal_alien.html

    One thing that is never even mentioned by the champions of the illegal aliens nor is factored into any crime studies is the fact that ALL illegal aliens have a 3 – 5 crimes committed head start on American citizens (see the 5 point list above).

    Do you ever hear an acknowledgement from the illegal alien facilitators of the more than 50,000 Americans that have been killed by illegal aliens through murder, manslaughter and drunk driving just since 9/11/01? Of course not, that doesn't fit within their pre-determined conclusion that illegals are only hard working economically displaced ‘migrants’ that regardless of the laws they break by entering, remaining and operating in America, are only here for a better life at the expense of no one. Excuse me for being cynical but I’ve seen the data, read the studies, considered the facts and seen the reality. If you haven’t done the same, I urge you to do so without delay.

    Furthermore, legalizing an illegal alien’s presence in America by rewarding their illegal behavior through amnesty is not the way to build a good system of law and order. It only invites more criminal activity and non-compliance with our laws.

    The central question for everyone, including the facilitators, illegal alien advocates, the ‘no human being is illegal’ compassion crowd, every legislator and RESPONSIBLE MEDIA REPORTERS is this…Why should even ONE American suffer a crime OF ANY SORT at the hands of an illegal alien? With border security and zero tolerance for illegal immigration, these crimes against our citizens are essentially 100% preventable.

    I urge you to view this video that puts the tragedy of illegal alien crime victims into perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpomTIkv0V8&feature=PlayList&p=4EED1264205A2408&index=3

    Isn’t it about time that we engage in Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement rather than allow amnesty with Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

  3. David Wilson
    July 19th, 2008 at 18:25 | #3

    Incidentally, to see how realistic the "zeezil" post is, check out:

    "Immigrant, Pregnant, Is Jailed Under Pact"
    NY Times, 7/20/08

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/us/20immig.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

    No, Mrs. Villegas wasn't "released back into the community." She was shackled to a hospital bed while in labor.

  4. David Wilson
    July 14th, 2008 at 20:44 | #4

    “Zeezil” is confusing the issues here. He or she is talking about jurisdictions where the police do not inquire about or keep records on an arrestee’s immigration status. But Prof. Rasmusen wasn’t referring to immigration status in calculating his percentages for federal and state prison populations; he was in fact using the reported number of noncitizen prisoners, which includes both documented and undocumented immigrants. So no “huge statistic” is being “missed.”

    “Zeezil” goes on to say that “many” of “those that have been ID’ed as illegal aliens…are released back into the community or deported before being imprisoned.” In reality, immigrants who are convicted of crimes serve their sentences like other convicts. The main difference is that after they’ve done their time they are likely to be deported–in other words, they are punished twice, first by imprisonment and then by exile.

    Throughout our country’s history, a certain number of people have wanted to believe that immigrants are disproportionately criminal, despite all the evidence to the contrary. The Irish, the Jews, the Italians and the Chinese all came in for this treatment in earlier centuries. Now we have the same libel against Mexicans, Central Americans and people from the Caribbean. It’s a tradition of long standing, but not one to be proud of.

  5. Dave
    June 17th, 2008 at 05:34 | #5

    He makes the same mistake that he made before. He used a figure for non-citizens and concluded that it meant illegal aliens. Not all non-citizens are illegal aliens. Even his 6% figure is grossly overstated.

  6. zeezil
    April 30th, 2008 at 07:13 | #6

    A huge statistic is missed here, that if quantified would boost the crime numbers and costs of illegal aliens immensely. That is, many jurisdictions don’t determine the immigration status of a perpetrator of a crime (don’t even ask) and many others are sanctuary cities that are forbidden from asking the immigration status of crime perpetrators.

    Furthermore, for those that have been ID’ed as illegal aliens, many are released back into the community or deported before being imprisoned, therefore their presence is never counted in the percentages of illegal aliens in our jails.

    Bottom line, the numbers of illegal aliens quoted as committing crimes and in prison are woefully underestimated.

    A more realistic statistic would be to report on the number of “foreign born” committing crimes. That, though would be a misleading stat because a number of foreign-born have had their immigration status adjusted to a legal visa still in effect or even citizenship.

    But, the central question that hasn’t been asked…why do we tolerate even ONE crime by an illegal alien? These crimes are totally preventable by not allowing these perps into the country in the first place by having a border wall, securing the borders and enforcing our currently existing immigration laws.

  1. No trackbacks yet.