Sunday, May 1, 2011

GAO Report Reveals 68 Percent Of All SCAAP Criminal Illegal Aliens In U.S. Prisons Are From Mexico; Total Federal Costs Around $1.6 Billion

The chart above says it all. Extracted from page 9 of a General Accounting Office report entitled "CRIMINAL ALIEN STATISTICS: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests, and Costs", it shows that 68 percent of all SCAAP criminal aliens incarcerated in American Federal prisons are from Mexico. This disproportionality is not just restricted to the Federal level; a separate chart on page 13 shows that 66 percent of criminal aliens in state prisons are from Mexico, and another chart on page 15 shows 70 percent in local jails.

SCAAP is the acronymn for State Criminal Alien Assistance Program; the significance of the distinction, as explained on page 63 of the report, is that the GAO report does not reflect all criminal aliens incarcerated in the United States, since submission to the SCAAP program for reimbursement is voluntary. Consequently, not all state prison systems and local jails will be included.

-- Read the entire 65-page report HERE (may take about three minutes to download via DSL).
-- Read the one-page GAO Highlights Report HERE.

Apologists for Mexico will immediately seize upon Mexico' proximity to the United States via a lengthy shared border as the explanation for the disproportionality. And yes, it's true that Mexico shares a lengthy border with us. So does Canada, but if you look back at the graph posted above, you'll note NO SEPARATE ENTRY for Canada. Canada is lumped in with the remaining 172 countries that together comprise 10 percent of the criminal alien population. Thus Canada's share alone can be assumed to be less than one percent.

Think about it. Both Mexico and Canada share borders with the United States. Yet while 68 percent of illegal aliens in prison are Mexican, less than one percent are Canadian. Even accounting for the fact that there's more poverty and violence in Mexico than in Canada, that's still disproportionate.

The report also contains information stratified by state. On page 12 of the report, mouse the cursor over the state of interest to determine the trend. You'll note that the one-year trend in several states, to include Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah, is sharply rising. On page 63, you'll find the specific numbers; the number of criminal aliens in Utah's jails and prisons skyrocketed from 2,018 in 2008 to 3,438 in 2009.

How much does this cost us? On page 34, the GAO estimates a total cost of incarceration in federal prisons and SCAAP reimbursements to states and localities to be $1.6 billion in 2009. Page 37 shows incarceration in state prisons to cost $1.1 billion in 2009, up 56 percent from 2003 (this represents a combined federal-state prison cost of $2.7 billion). Furthermore, they estimate the aggregate operating costs (i.e., correctional officer salaries, medical care, food service, and utilities) associated with incarcerating criminal aliens in our state prison systems has totaled $7 billion from FY 2003 through FY 2009. Based on available appropriations, states were reimbursed for only about $1.6 billion of the $7 billion, about 23 percent of the costs. Of course, whether it's paid for by the state or reimbursed by the Feds, the common original source of the funds is Mr. and Ms. John Q. Taxpayer.

The report was in response to an inquiry by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is an immigration hawk. Rep. King is using the study to back his push for a fence and a wall that would run along the U.S.-Mexico border as a way to stop people from coming into the country illegally. Rep. King sits on the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security & International Law subcommittee.

A Google news search did not reveal a whole lot of media interest in this story. Outlets publishing reports included The New American, the Washington Times, which noted that one of every four inmates in federal prisons is an illegal immigrant, The Hill, and the BBC. Also weighing in on the report was the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and the American Third Position Party,

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