Brendan Kirby, LifeZette, May 3, 2017
Nearly a quarter of the inmates in federal prisons were born outside the U.S., and more than half of those have final deportation orders, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
The Justice Department published statistics on the prison population to comply with directives in President Donald Trump’s January executive order overhauling the immigration system.
The foreign-born prison population as of March 25 totals 45,493, or 24 percent of all federal inmates. Of that group, 3,939 now are American citizens. That leaves 41,554 inmates who remain citizens of foreign countries. Some 22,541 of them, or 54.4 percent, have final orders to be deported once they’ve completed their sentences. Another 33.4 percent, 13,886, are under investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for possible deportation.
“Illegal aliens who commit additional crimes in the United States are a threat to public safety and a burden on our criminal justice system,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a prepared statement. “This is why we must secure our borders through a wall and effective law enforcement, and we must strengthen cooperation between federal, state and local governments as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty of protecting and serving the American people.”
A small number of prisoners — 26, or .1 percent of all foreign-born inmates — have been granted asylum, while another 5,101 have been targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation but are fighting it.
“These high numbers show you there is a nexus between illegal immigration and crime,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Using the average cost per inmate in the federal prison system, the expense of incarcerating non-citizens is more than $1.2 billion a year.