People who aren’t U.S. citizens made up 64% of all federal arrests in 2018, though the majority of these arrests were for nonviolent crimes, according to a Justice Department report published this week.
The report showed that 90% of those arrests were connected with immigration offenses or were immigration-related, not violent crimes or drug trafficking, as President Donald Trump has claimed.
U.S. citizens were arrested at higher rates for offenses involving drugs, violence or fraud.
The statistics reflect Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration. The administration’s efforts to deter immigration have led to the separation of tens of thousands of migrants children from their families and forced more than 52,000 migrants into detention centers.
The report was published by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Throughout his presidential campaign and presidency, Trump has referred to immigration from Central America as an “invasion” of the U.S. and described migrants broadly as drug dealers, rapists and violent criminals.
But the data in the DOJ report shows that more U.S. citizens were arrested than foreign nationals for violent offenses, drug offenses and weapon offenses in 2018.
According to the data, noncitizens were arrested at far lower rates than U.S. citizens for all offense categories listed in the report ― with the exception of immigration-related offenses.
That’s why immigration activists, and many Democratic presidential candidates, have called to decriminalize illegal border crossings.
Presidential hopeful Julián Castro, one of the first to publicly speak on decriminalization, proposed to make illegal border crossings a civil offense instead of a criminal offense for undocumented immigrants.
He blames the Trump administration for using border crossings as a reason to criminalize migrants, detain them and separate families.
The data also shows that the arrests of noncitizens over immigration offenses rose 419% in 20 years, from 1998 to 2018. In the span of one year, from 2017 to 2018, the arrests of noncitizens spiked 87%.
See the Justice Department’s full report below:
Celeste Lavin contributed to this report.
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