Federal law enforcement resources are heavily concentrated on both immigration-related offenses and immigrant crime, according to figures released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Almost two-thirds, 61 percent, of all federal arrests in 2014 occurred in the five federal court districts along the southern border. In addition, fifty percent of all federal law enforcement arrests in 2014 were for immigration offenses.
“These statistics make it clear that immigration-related offenses along the United States border with Mexico account for an enormous portion of the federal government’s law enforcement resources and that we must enforce our immigration laws in a way that consistently deters future violations,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.
The figures showed that immigration arrests doubled from 1994 to 1998, doubled again from 1998 to 2006, and then doubled again from 2006 to 2013, when they numbered around 100,000. The BJS found that fifteen percent of federal prisoners returned to prison within three years of being released in 2012, and that this rate of recidivism was higher among those who were initially arrested along the southern border.
Non-citizens made up 42 percent of defendants charged in U.S. district court and 24 percent of federal prisoners in 2014, according to the statistics. Mexican citizens also made up nearly a third of those charged in U.S. district court that year.
The DOJ is set to release a quarterly report on the effects of illegal immigrant crime, as called for by President Trump in a January executive order.