Thursday, June 20, 2024

Study Shows Latinos Account for 40% of all Federal Offenders: Increase due to Immigration Enforcement?

According to a study released by the Pew Hispanic Center entitled “A Rising Share: Hispanics and Federal Crime“, Latinos account for 40% of all federal offenders-more than triple their percent of the total population (13%) representing the single largest racial and ethnic group among all federal offenders. Whites represent 27%, Blacks represent 23%, and the remainder includes Asians, Native Americans, and non identified minorities at 10%.

The high rate of incarcerated Latinos can possibly be attributed to a sharp growth in illegal immigration and an increased enforcement of immigration laws . Among those sentenced for immigration offenses in 2007, 80% were Latinos. Many of the offenses included entering unlawfully or residing in the U.S. without authorization as well as being convicted for snuggling, transporting or harboring an unlawful alien.

Among Hispanic offenders who are US citizens, more than half (56%) were sentenced for drug offenses, while only 14% were serving time for immigration offenses.  However, almost half, 48%, of non-citizen Hispanics were convicted of immigration offenses.  Non US citizen Hispanics also now make up a greater percentage of the federal Hispanic inmate population, 72%, compared to 61% of Hispanic inmates in 1991.

Also of note is the fact that of the 94 US Federal District Courts, the majority of Hispanics are sentenced in only five of these courts: the Southern (17%) and Western (15%) districts of Texas, the District of Arizona (11%), the Southern District of California (6%) and the District of New Mexico (6%). All five of these districts are located along the U.S.-Mexico border.

For more information on the report, please visit


  1. This “Hispanics and Federal Crime” study has gotten a lot of traction in the press, and illustrates how the U.S. criminalizes Hispanics for short-sighted, ineffective foreign policies towards Latin America.

  2. They’re just deporting Latinos for no reason now. ICE has a quota to fill and they do!! The ACLU has to get involved with this!

  3. I’m just wondering, is it really that bad where they come from that Latinos would come here illegally and run a high risk of going to jail? Any thoughts?

  4. When we have legislation in place such as NAFTA which strongly reduces the incomes of Mexican farmers and workers to the point of forcing them to immigrate “up to the North” then yes, it does become that bad. And if by “high risk” you mean being racially profiled then yes; their only crime is being brown-skinned. We’re all aware that America needs a sensible immigration policy to staunch the flow of illegal workers across its borders, however, it cannot do that by simply scooping up people on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

  5. From the article, it sounds like the people who were put in jail were put there because they did something illegal and not because they were brown-skinned. It just happens that more people who are doing illegal things are Latinos in proportion to other races. Maybe there is a way we could get Latinos to not do illigal things so they woulnd’t have to be put in jail? It is sad to me because I can’t imagine life in jail is better than life in Latin America. Maybe there is a way we could better encourage them to take the legal immigration route?

  6. The act of commiting a crime is defined by the act of getting caught, one can’t exist without the other. Latinos are just getting caught at exorbitant proportions as compared to their white counterparts. The article does say that these “latinos” are being put in jail at a higher number than people of other races, however, I would have to compare data and see what type of crimes they are being convicted before simply saying that Latinos are involved in criminal activity in greater numbers than other races/ethnicities. The article also says and this is a direct quotation from the article “many of the offenses included entering unlawfully or residing in the U.S…”. Now, how would an immigration/police officer know that someone buying groceries at a 7-11/or crossing the street is or isn’t an illegal immigrant unless explicitly asking them or singling them out? While I recognize that being undocumented is a crime, getting caught for violating this law uses some sort of racial profiling. Are we just assuming that white looking people can’t be illegal immigrants? There are thousands of Canadians residing illegally in the United States, I suspect that most of them go under the radar simply because 1) they are white 2) they speak English. How about those Argentinians of German-descent and those Chileans of French-descent? At the same time, there are so many cases of Americans of Latin descent who get asked whether or not they are legally residing in the United States (myself included).