Via the Associated Press, the report:
Immigrants arrested for being in the United States illegally may have been charged up to six more times, for more serious crimes, after they were released by local authorities, new Justice Department data indicate.
Additionally, a separate report also issued Monday concludes that the number of illegal immigrants deported after being declared a felon is on the rise.
The Justice findings by department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine examined the criminal histories of 100 illegal immigrants arrested and then released by local and state authorities in 2004, the latest complete data available. Of the sample group of 100, according to the audit, 73 immigrants were later arrested a collective 429 times on charges ranging from traffic tickets to weapons and drug charges.
The data suggest “the rate at which released criminal aliens are re-arrested is extremely high,” the audit noted. The report, parts of which were redacted, was required by Congress in 2005 and looked at how local and state authorities that receive Justice Department funding are working with the Homeland Security Department.
For years, the government was forced to release thousands of illegal immigrants who were caught in the United States because of not enough jail space and other resources. But last fall, with immigration as a key election-year priority, Homeland Security declared it would detain 99 percent of non-Mexican illegal immigrants until they could be returned to their home nations. The policy generally does not apply to Mexicans, who are almost immediately returned to Mexico after being stopped by Border Patrol agents.
The Justice audit, however, only looked at immigrants who were arrested and released by local and state authorities before they could be turned over to Homeland Security to be detained or deported. In all, 752 cities, counties and states participating in the program received $287 million in 2005, the audit noted.
Five states California, New York, Texas, Florida and Arizona received the bulk of the money, together pulling in more than $184 million.
Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, who oversees the Office of Justice Programs that controlled the funding, declined comment on the audit, noting that it does not contain any recommendations.
A separate report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University showed that the number of immigrants who were deported as “aggravated felons” doubled over the last 15 years, from 10,303 in 1992 to an estimated 23,065 in 2006.
But TRAC, which obtained the data from the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, noted concerns that some of those immigrants never committed felonies.
“An individual can be declared an aggravated felon on the basis of a conviction on misdemeanor charges such as shoplifting,” the TRAC report concluded.
The entire (redacted) report is available here. It’s actually a very interesting read. A good portion of the material deals with looking at whether communities who received money as part of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) program actually cooperated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Very interesting how some entities interpret cooperation – seems to vary greatly between areas.
Much like the experience reported earlier for Roswell, GA, many indicated that they do report suspected illegal immigrants to ICE when they are arrested for other reasons, but don’t get much response.
“Our experience has shown that ICE is not going to respond anyway.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “On every occasion we attempt to inform ICE but ICE does not always respond.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “Past history has shown that they will rarely pick the subjects up for transport.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “Depends on nature of crime.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “ICE agents come into our facility on a regular basis and review our records of undocumented aliens.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “Sheriff’s deputies do not inform ICE. Detention staff will notify ICE if information obtained from a criminal history rap sheet or information obtained from our local database alerts [our] Department of previous contacts with ICE (releases to ICE or previously deported criminal alien).” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “This is a sheriff’s department function.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “Law enforcement officers may contact ICE but jail staff do not. We have an ICE employee [who] regularly reviews inmate rosters.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
• “Most patrol officers do not have the time or know the number in order to inform ICE.” [SENSITIVE INFORMATION REDACTED]
The study showing criminal recidivism is a very limited sample owing to the fact that it was difficult to mine the data, so the results, while quite shocking, are difficult to generalize across the population. More from the report:
After querying NCIC, the FBI provided us with nearly 433,000 text files that could not be searched by automated means. The volume of files was too great to search manually and quantify the results. Consequently, we judgmentally selected a sample of 100 criminal histories, which we reviewed for evidence of arrests of criminal aliens subsequent to June 30, 2003. The criminal histories for 73 of the 100 individuals documented at least one arrest after that date. Those 73 individuals accounted for a total of 429 arrests, with 878 charges and 241 convictions. These figures represent an average of nearly six arrests per individual.
The charges for the 73 individuals ranged from traffic violations and trespassing to more serious crimes, such as burglary or assault. Some of those charges included:
• 166 drug-related;
• 37 immigration-related;
• 213 burglary, robbery, or theft;
• 40 assault;
• 10 property damage;
• 3 terrorist threat; and
• 13 weapons charges.
Based on this limited sample, we cannot statistically extrapolate the number of offenses committed by undocumented criminal aliens who were released from local custody without a referral to ICE. Based on the information available to us in the criminal histories, we could not determine the number of the criminal aliens in our sample that were deported, if any, and later arrested after reentering the United States. We also could not determine if ICE was notified before the criminal aliens in our sample were released from custody. But if this data is indicative of the full population of 262,105 criminal histories, the rate at which released criminal aliens are rearrested is extremely high.
Not sure if the FBI was really anxious to help or not, but it would seem that it should have been possible to get better data in order to examine a sample size larger than 100. At any rate, it’s very interesting in what it does show.