Illegal immigrants who were caught but released in the United States may have been re-arrested as many as six times, Justice Department data released Monday indicates.
The findings by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine are based on a sampling of 100 illegal immigrants arrested by local and state authorities in 2004, the latest complete data available. They show that 73 of the 100 immigrants were arrested, collectively, 429 times—ranging from traffic tickets to weapons and drug charges.
Fine’s office said its audit could not conclude precisely how many of the 262,105 illegal immigrants charged with criminal histories that year had been re-arrested. “But if this data is indicative of the full population of 262,105 criminal histories, the rate at which released criminal aliens are re-arrested is extremely high,” the audit noted.
The audit was required by Congress in 2005, and parts of it were redacted because of security reasons. It looked at how local and state authorities that receive Justice Department funding to help catch and detain illegal immigrants are working with the Homeland Security Department.
It also examined the arrest rates of immigrants who were released—usually because of insufficient jail space—before they could be turned over to Homeland Security’s bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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.