Saturday, February 21, 2009

Increased numbers of Latinos and illegal aliens sentenced in federal courts

Criminals being sentenced in federal courts are increasingly Latino. In 2007, Latinos accounted for 40% of all federal offenders, more than three times their portion (13%) of the total U.S. adult population. At 40%, the Latino number of all sentenced offenders was up 175% from their 23% in 1991.

By 2007, immigration offenses made up nearly one-quarter (24%) of all federal convictions. They were just 7% in 1991. Hispanics made up 80% of those sentenced for immigration offenses in 2007, due to the sharp growth in illegal immigration and increased enforcement of immigration laws.

Demonstrating the sharp growth in illegal immigration, by 2007, Latinos without U.S. citizenship represented 29% of all federal offenders. Of all Latino offenders, 72% were illegal aliens, up from 61% in 1991. Far fewer illegal aliens sentenced were white offenders (8%) or black offenders (6%).

Fully 75% of Latino offenders sentenced for immigration crimes in 2007 were convicted of entering the U.S. unlawfully or residing in the country without authorization.

Hispanics who were convicted of any federal offense were more likely than non-Hispanics to be sentenced to prison. But among all federal offenders sentenced to prison, Hispanics were also more likely than blacks or whites to receive a shorter prison term. The statistics were included in the report "A Rising Share: Hispanics and Federal Crime," published by the Pew Hispanic Center.

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