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Illegal Aliens and Crime
Sandra DeNardis
Criminal Justice in America CCJ 1020
College of Central Florida


There is much concern, both politically and socially, about the impact of illegal aliens in the U.S. These individuals started their lives in the United States as criminals by not following the proper channels. They have entered or resided without the permission or knowledge of our Government and while doing so have violated the laws of the States, Nation and metropolises. The cost of arresting, prosecuting, sentencing, and supervising these illegal criminals has become a major issue at the State and local levels.


Preventing the admission of criminals to our country has been an on-going concern to the public and policy makers. Even during colonial times, there were laws against the arrival of criminals. Exile was practiced in some European communities through the 1800s. This type of sentence drove the offenders out of town and he or she would generally be killed if attempting to reenter the area. Though it was seldom practical to banish offenders from an entire province or nation, for more than 200 years England practiced a form of criminal exile known as transportation. Today laws banning admission to the United States for those who have committed certain crimes remain in force. (Frank Schmalleger, 2013)
Most of us can follow our family tree back to someone who migrated to the United States from a foreign country. However, today we find the issue of immigration in a not so positive light. Immigration laws are in the news quite often lately and are a major issue for the Obama administration. The number of criminal aliens who commit crimes is a growing threat to public safety and national security and an immense drain of our limited criminal justice resources. Since being an illegal citizen can lead to deportation, collecting data on just how many illegals are in the system is extremely difficult. It is important to understand that federal prisons account for a small portion of all those locked up and retrieving exact numbers of illegals in the system is almost impossible. Typically prisons use self-reporting as a means to determine a prisoner’s place of birth or citizenship and inmate data is seldom carefully checked against immigration records.
Currently there are approximately 12 million illegal immigrants in America and deportation of all of them is considered too expensive. Although the exact number of illegals is difficult to determine, the Pew Research Center estimates that there are approximately 1 million illegals that reside in the state of Florida. Pew also puts the number of illegals in the work force around 780,000, which represents 8.2% of Florida’s work force. The many different immigrant factions, legal and illegal, that encompass the influx of people in the United States and Florida average around 5.75 million. Of those, there were approximately 127,000 that obtained permanent resident status, 82,700 who were naturalized and 5,538,000 that were admitted to the state for business, education, tourism, temporary work, diplomatic and other reasons. In 2009, the number of identified deportable aliens in the state of Florida totaled 5,745 and 613,000 in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security. (Department of Homeland Security, 2009).
Increased enforcement relating to immigration has clearly impacted the criminal justice system. The federal convictions relating to immigration increased from 7% to 24% between 1991 and 2007. A 2006 study showed that from January 1999 to April 2006 approximately 260,000 illegals committed nearly 1 million sexual offenses In the U.S. This study also shows that illegal immigrants make up 30% of our prison population.
Although immigration offenses fall exclusively under control of the federal courts, the states continue to amass expenses involving imprisoned illegals. According to the Florida Department