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Are illegal immigrants more likely to commit serious crimes than the general U.S. population?

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Data from the Obama administration Census Bureau and Department of Justice show that noncitizens are 7% more likely than the U.S. population to be incarcerated in adult correctional facilities, and this represents only a fraction of serious crimes by illegal immigrants. In the prior decade, the U.S. deported at least 1.5 million noncitizens who were convicted of committing crimes in the U.S., or 10 times the number of noncitizens in U.S. adult correctional facilities. This indicates a level of criminality that is multiplicatively higher than the U.S. population. Also, roughly half of noncitizens are in the U.S. legally, and legal immigrants rarely commit crimes, because immigration laws are designed to screen out criminals. Hence, the incarceration rate of illegal immigrants is probably about twice as high as for all noncitizens.

DocumentationIllegal Immigration & Crime



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