NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 18, 2005

Handling the myriad problems associated with illegal aliens who commit crimes is often beyond the capabilities of local police departments, says Jim Kouri, vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office study of 55,322 criminal aliens incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails:

  • Illegal aliens were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien; nearly all had more than one arrest and slightly more than half had between 2 and 10 offenses.
  • They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien; one arrest incident may include multiple offenses.
  • Of those charged, 49 percent had been previously convicted of a felony: 20 percent of a drug offense; 18 percent a violent offense; and 11 percent of other felony offenses.
  • Defendants charged with unlawful reentry had the most extensive criminal histories, where 9 in 10 had been previously arrested; of those with a prior arrest, half had been arrested on at least five prior occasions and 56 percent had been previously convicted of a violent or drug-related felony.

The escalation in alien crime -- which tends to be drug-oriented and violent -- places added demands on state and local law enforcement personnel. Proper arrest procedures must be carried out, and complex notification and reporting requirements must be satisfied. Otherwise, says Kouri, dangerous aliens can escape prosecution and deportation.

Source: Jim Kouri CPP, "Illegal Alien Crime Wave: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You,", August 5, 2005; and "Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States," U.S. Government Accountability Office, April 7, 2005.

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