Immigration Bulletin No. 1

Criminal Immigrants: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin

In his first week in office, President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to deport most illegal immigrants who come in contact with law enforcement.1 His order is based on the widespread perception that illegal immigrants are a significant source of crime in the United States.2 This brief uses American Community Survey data to analyze incarcerated immigrants according to their citizenship and legal status. All immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives relative to their shares of the population. Even illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.

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Michelangelo Landgrave is a doctoral student in political science at the University of California, Riverside. Alex Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.