Vast Majority of Illegal Immigrants Arrested in Prince William Charged With One of Three Crimes

David Sherfinski, Washington Examiner, August 17, 2009

The vast majority of illegal immigrants arrested in Prince William County last year were charged with public drunkenness, driving under the influence or driving without a license, according to recent data.

Among 20 common crimes, such as vandalism and drug possession, arrests for the three crimes accounted for 76 percent of arrests of illegal immigrants (440 out of 576). Among all the persons arrested for those 20 crimes, the three charges constituted 48 percent of the arrests (5,064 out of 10,465), according to a report from the University of Virginia. The data sample was taken from March 2008 to December 2008.

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One difficulty with analyzing such statistics is that the illegal immigrant population is necessarily based on estimates. The report, citing a 2007 study, estimated that about 7 or 8 percent of Prince William’s general population was made up of illegal immigrants.

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The Prince William County Police Department has held numerous community meetings to stress that the enforcement policy focuses on illegal immigrants who commit crimes, that crime victims and witnesses will be protected regardless of their immigration status, and that the department does not engage in racial profiling.

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