In 1980, our Federal and state facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. But at the end of 2003, approximately 267,000 non-citizens were incarcerated in U.S. correctional facilities, as follows
Approximately 27 percent of all prisoners in Federal custody are criminal aliens. The majority (63 percent) are citizens of Mexico. Other major nationalities include Columbia and the Dominican Republic (7 percent each); Jamaica 4 percent; Cuba 3 percent; El Salvador 2 percent; and Honduras, Haiti, and Guatemala (1 percent each).
The remaining 11 percent are from are 164 different countries. Diversity is strength!
The Federal government spent $1.43 billion to incarcerate criminal aliens in fiscal 2004. This total includes $280 million of reimbursements made to state and local governments under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program [SCAAP]. But SCAAP funds cover less than 25 percent of the full cost of incarcerating criminal aliens in state and local correctional facilities, according to the GAO.
Still, the public costs of incarcerating aliens are trivial alongside the private costs they impose on their victims. The GAO recently analyzed the rap sheets of more than 55,000 illegal aliens incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities during 2003.[Source: General Accountability Office, "Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States," Letter to Congressman John N. Hostettler, May 9, 2005.]
So the benefits of incarcerating criminal aliens far outweigh the costs.
Better yet: Deport them! In fact about 40,000 aliens are deported annually after serving time for murder, assault, robbery, drug possession, and other criminal offenses. [Table 2.] But they regularly make their way back to the United States, where "sanctuary policies" often prohibit police from reporting them to immigration authorities. Many stay here decades after getting their deportation orders.
Last happy thought: these numbers underestimate the impact of immigration on crime.