Trend in Federal Arrests for Non-U.S. Citizens and U.S. Citizens Shifted Dramatically Over Two Decades
The Justice Department (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported nearly two-thirds of all federal arrests in 2018 were of non-U.S. citizens. The new crime statistics are a complete reversal from twenty years ago.
In 1998, 63% of all federal arrests were of U.S. citizens. Two decades later, 64% of all federal arrests were of non-U.S. citizens, despite allegedly representing only 7% of the total U.S. population.
From 1998 to 2018, country of origin of persons arrested by federal law enforcement shifted significantly. Mexican citizens’ share of federal arrests rose from 28% to 40%. The share of arrests for Central American countries rose from 1% to 20% during the same period, while U.S. citizens’ share of federal arrests fell from 63% to 36%.
The jump from 1,171 in 1998 to 39,858 in 2018 for Central Americans represents a 30-fold gain over two decades. Federal arrests of Mexican citizens (78,062) now exceeds the number for U.S. citizens (70,542).
By gender, 90% of suspects arrested for federal immigration crimes were male, while just 10% were female.
Federal arrests of non-U.S. citizens rose 234% from 1998 to 2018 juxtaposed to a gain of just 10% for U.S. citizens over the same period. The BJS said 95% of the increase in federal arrests was due to immigration crimes.
However, that by no means paints a clear picture.
The top five crimes for non-U.S. citizens were illegal reentry (72%), drugs (13%), fraud (4.5%), alien smuggling (4%), and misuse of visas (2%). The top five crimes for U.S. citizens were drugs (38%), weapons (21%), fraud (12%), public order (12%), and alien smuggling (6%).