Thursday, February 28, 2008

2005 GAO Report Calls Into Question Recent Study Claiming Immigrants Less Likely to Commit Crimes Than Americans

Recently we discussed a study by Public Policy Institute of California that claimed they found that immigrants were less likely to commit crimes than natural born citizens. The study urged policy makers to not waste time and money on efforts to increase education requirements for visas and tough stances on criminal immigrants, legal or not.

We combed through the report and found that the report by its own admission was missing key data.

Thanks to an anonymous commenter who informed us about a 2005 Government Accountability Office study we were able to find more data that contradicts this new report.

  • At the federal level, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42,000 at the end of calendar year 2001 to about 49,000 at the end of calendar year 2004--a 15 percent increase.
  • The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years--about 27 percent.
  • The majority of criminal aliens incarcerated at the end of calendar year 2004 were identified as citizens of Mexico.
  • We estimate the federal cost of incarcerating criminal aliens--BOP's cost to incarcerate criminals and reimbursements to state and local governments under SCAAP--totaled approximately $5.8 billion for calendar years 2001 through 2004.
  • BOP's cost to incarcerate criminal aliens rose from about $950 million in 2001 to about $1.2 billion in 2004--a 14 percent increase.
  • At the state level, the 50 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 77,000 criminal aliens in fiscal year 2002 and 47 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 74,000 in fiscal year 2003.
  • For the 5 states incarcerating about 80 percent of these criminal aliens in fiscal year 2003, about 68 percent incarcerated in midyear 2004 reported that the country of citizenship or country of birth as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or Cuba.
  • We estimate that 4 of these 5 states spent about $1.6 billion to incarcerate criminal aliens reimbursed through SCAAP during fiscal years 2002 and 2003.
  • At the local level, in fiscal year 2002, SCAAP reimbursed about 750 local governments for incarcerating about 138,000 criminal aliens.
  • In fiscal year 2003, SCAAP reimbursed about 700 local governments for about 147,000 criminal aliens, with 5 local jail systems accounting for about 30 percent of these criminal aliens.
  • The 147,000 criminal aliens incarcerated during fiscal year 2003 spent a total of about 8.5 million days in jail.
  • Mexico leads as the country of birth for foreign-born arrestees at these 5 local jails in fiscal year 2003.
  • We estimate that 4 of these 5 local jails spent an estimated $390 million in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to incarcerate criminal aliens and were reimbursed about $73 million through SCAAP.
The report indicates that immigrants made up 27% of the federal prison population in 2005 and only 12% of the total U.S. population. The overwhelming over representation of immigrants in prison would seem to indicate that immigrants are far more likely than U.S. citizens to commit crime.

Perhaps the only real conclusion that can be drawn from the PPIC report is that California is doing a bang up job of turning over their criminal immigrants to the federal system.

UPDATE 12:35 pm CST:

We've got even more info coming in that debunks this new PPIC report that only looked at the California state prison system. This distinction is important to note, because as we have already seen the situation is much different at the federal level and now we learn the situation in California's county prison system also shows that immigrants are far more likely than U.S.-born citizens to commit crimes.
L.A. jails are facing an overcrowding crisis, and illegal immigrants are part of the problem. Federal officials estimate that as many as 40,000 of the 170,000 inmates who pass through local jails each year are in this country illegally. Deporting them won't solve overcrowding in the short term because they have to serve their sentences before being turned over to the feds, but it will probably reduce crime and the jail population over the long term. Meanwhile, illegal residents will have more incentive to obey the law, without being unduly discouraged from cooperating with police.

On top of this, Kristin Butcher, an associate professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts who co-wrote the study, has admitted that since immigrants who have been arrested and are awaiting deportation are transferred to federal prison system and state prisons that their population in California's state prison system are underrepresented.


Anonymous said...

The PPIC report uses a large number of sources including The Dept. of Homeleand Security Office of Immigratio Statistics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, The Inspector General, The US Census Bureau, New York Times Reports, Sand Diego Union reports, Bureau of Justic Statistics Bulletin, Federal Sentencing Reporter, Harvard University Press, American Journal of Public Health, The Economic Journal, National Bureau of Economic Research, and The California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Not to mention the authors have degrees and are professors at Wellesly, Rutgers and Northwestern which in case you didn't know are prestigious universities. These isn't just some rogue open border organization as you and other bloggers make them out to be.

You use financial stats that prove nothing from a GAO report and you pick and choose stats from a LA Times article and that debunks all of the information used in the report?

Get real. I think your support of what Nigthmare wrote underlines how dangerous the anti-immigrant crowd is.

"We need more boarder control, a better system of screening and a shoot to fucking kill order for those who don't comply."

You supported that post man. get a life.

Carlos Slim said...

He didn't say the stats about the state prison makeup are wrong. He said the ppic report ignored two thirds of the prison system in this country.

Did you not even see the quote from one of the ppic report's authors and researchers that said they knew that immigrants in the state system were under represented because states pass deportable immigrant criminals to the federal system?

Maybe you should go read the actual ppic report, they also made mention of two other facts that accoutn for the low numbers in state prison systems.

The GAO report is clearly more credible because no bias was introduced. It is just hard facts.