Friday, March 27, 2009

Working is no Crime

Border Lines

Reporting from the TransBorder Project of the

Center for International Policy

The TransBorder Project is a project of the Americas Policy Program in Mexico City and the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC. Directed by CIP senior analyst Tom Barry, the TransBorder Project and its Border Lines Blog aim to foster policy alternatives and to improve understanding of such transborder issues as immigration, trade, illegal drug flows, and environmental degradation.

Click Here for their blog to learn more about how the American people treat the workers they tempted to their country with words of good pay and freedom, and the language they use to describe their fellow human beings.

Criminal Aliens Without End

Fourth in a 12-part BorderLines series

"Aliens, Crime, and Drugs: Making the Connection"

Monday, March 23, 2009

There is no good estimate of the number of criminal aliens because it’s a constantly expanding population, as the number of new immigrants grows and as the number of immigrant residents who are convicted of crimes grows.
It’s also a rising number because the federal government’s definition of deportable crimes keeps expanding, and because new border control and interior enforcement programs at DHS have been increasingly turning immigration violations into criminal violations.

There are roughly 20 million legal noncitizen residents and 11 million illegal residents in the United States. ICE estimates that there are 300,000 to 450,000 criminal aliens detained at federal, state, and local prisons and jails. Once it gets data systems fully operating and with sufficient budgeting ($2-3 billion), ICE can remove all these aliens, most of whom are legal residents.

An unknown number, presumably much larger than those currently detained, of legal residents who have at any time during their residence been convicted of a “removable offense” are also criminal aliens. They are “removable” but will likely remain outside ICE’s custody until they are identified by a cross-check of the government’s increasingly integrated immigration/criminal databases – as when they reenter the country after a foreign visit, apply for citizenship, booked in a local jail, stopped by a law enforcement official.

In other words, if a legal resident has ever been convicted of a crime, even if the sentence was waived, they can at any point in their life be arrested and deported as a criminal alien. To this expanding pool of criminal aliens, any noncitizen who in the future commits a removable offense will be added.

All 11 million immigrants are removable, in addition to the 300,000 – 500,000 additional immigrants who each year enter illegally or overstay their visas. If any of these are convicted of a crime or charged with a criminal violation of immigration law, they are considered criminal aliens, and will likely serve a prison sentence before being turned back to ICE for detention and removal.

Next: The Widening Net Posted by Tom Barry at 10:28 PM Labels: Making the Connection

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