Most illegal aliens routinely commit felonies

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Two new studies, one from The Sentencing Project and one from the libertarian Cato Institute, reported that the percentage of immigrants committing crimes is lower than that of United States citizens. However, the underlying methodology used in each was critically flawed.

It is possible that legal immigrants commit crimes at a rate lower than U.S. citizens and that they are incarcerated at a lower rate than U.S. citizens. After all, legal immigrants are well vetted, and if they have criminal records in their countries of origin they are generally ineligible for admission to American.

{mosads}The same cannot be said for illegal aliens because virtually all adult, illegal aliens commit felonies in order to procure the documents they need to get jobs, to drive and to obtain other benefits that are restricted to U.S. citizens.  


The vast majority of illegal aliens use fraudulently obtained Social Security numbers.  They possess fake drivers’ licenses, phony “green cards,” fraudulent birth certificates and any other documents that U.S. citizens and legal residents have.  In addition, they falsify I-9 forms under penalty of perjury. Thus, the average illegal alien routinely commits multiple felonies –forgery, Social Security fraud, identity theft, and perjury.

This criminal activity is routinely swept under the rug in order to protect the myth of the law abiding illegal alien. However, when pushed, even the strongest supporters of illegal aliens are forced to acknowledge that the vast majority of illegal aliens commit multiple felonies. In fact, the Social Security Administration and New York Times report that approximately 75 percent of illegal aliens have fraudulently obtained Social Security numbers which is a felony. The ACLU accepts this figure and uses it to show that illegal aliens pay payroll taxes.

Furthermore, the Los Angeles Times reports that up to 8 million of 11.1 million (72 percent) illegal aliens commit job-related felonies. La Raza says that illegal aliens contribute $15 billion annually in Social Security payments through payroll taxes [by using illegally obtained Social Security numbers – felony].

Mexican-born American journalist Jorge Ramos admits that many illegal aliens use “fake” documents (a felony).

Even the president of the California State Senate admitted this month that “half” of his family “would be eligible for deportation under [President Trump’s] executive order, because if they got a false Social Security card, if they got a false identification, if they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB60, if they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members, you know, who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification (felonies).”

Neither the study from Cato or The Sentencing Project acknowledged these realities. And as a result, they tremendously understated the incidence of illegal alien criminal activity. Even the strongest supporters of illegal aliens acknowledge that 75 percent of illegal aliens routinely commit felonies of the aforementioned variety.

The Cato Institute further limited its study to the incarceration rate for legal immigrants, illegal aliens and U.S. citizens. But it was forced to acknowledge that the numbers of incarcerated illegal aliens are not readily available because “local and state governments do not record whether the prisoner is an illegal immigrant.” Cato was therefore forced to “use common statistical methods to identify illegal immigrant prisoners by excluding incarcerated respondents who have characteristics that they are unlikely to have. In other words, we can identify likely illegal immigrants by looking at prisoners with individual characteristics that are highly correlated with being an illegal immigrant.”

The Cato study consequently excluded felonies routinely committed by the vast majority of adult, illegal aliens as long as they were not incarcerated, resulting in a significant understatement of the overall incidence of crimes committed by illegal aliens. 

The study conducted by The Sentencing Project similarly focused on the incidence of crimes committed by foreign born individuals. According to the study, “Major national datasets lack information on respondents’ immigration legal status, and this information has not been systematically collected by law enforcement agencies or state departments of corrections.” 

That study’s data was just as questionable as that used in the Cato study. And its conclusion, “A century of research has shown immigrants [including illegal aliens] do not threaten public safety and … are less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens,” was patently false.

Democrats often assert as fact that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than U.S. citizens. That argument is totally wrong, because the vast majority of adult illegal aliens are committing felonies by virtue of being active in America.

The myth of the law abiding illegal alien is just that: a myth.

Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D. is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit group that advocates for legal immigration. He previously worked as a Foreign Service Officer.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Center for Immigration Studies CIS Immigration Ronald Mortensen
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