What If We Deported No Criminal Aliens?

By Preston Huennekens on August 28, 2017

At an event in Los Angeles this past May, leaders of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) suggested that the United States should stop all deportations, including those for violent criminals who had committed felonies.

Pablo Alvarado of NDLON compared the deporting of criminal aliens to creating a "penal colony of the United States where criminal dumping is acceptable". He also remarked that "it's racist to think that it's not OK for rapists and murderers to do their actions here, but it's OK for them to do them in El Salvador and Guatemala."

The deportation of illegal aliens who have not been convicted of other crimes has been a primary concern for immigration amnesty activists for years. But the no-deportation stance of CHIRLA and NDLON is rather extreme, even by the standards of most pro-amnesty politicians.

What if we followed the advice of CHIRLA and NDLON and did not deport any criminal aliens?

Table 8 in the Department of Homeland Security's "Immigration Enforcement Actions: 2015" lists the number of criminal aliens removed from the United States, sorted by their crime category between 2010 and 2015:

Criminal Aliens Removed by Crime Category

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total 169,656 188,964 200,143 198,981 169,253 139,950
Immigration 31,828 37,606 47,616 62,364 53,569 46,262
Dangerous Drugs 42,890 43,378 42,679 30,688 27,773 24,269
Traffic Offenses 31,062 43,154 46,162 29,945 24,017 18,578
Assault 12,175 12,783 13,045 20,244 17,408 14,479
Burglary 4,213 3,808 3,569 5,521 4,659 3,795
Weapon Offenses 2,814 2,730 2,513 5,310 4,549 3,752
Larceny 5,459 5,728 5,428 5,303 4,327 3,138
Fraudulent Activities 3,889 4,232 3,879 5,196 3,898 2,938
Sexual Assault 3,268 3,576 3,353 3,176 2,952 2,534
Robbery 3,646 3,757 3,585 2,613 2,364 2,126
All Other Categories 28,412 28,212 28,314 28,621 23,737 18,079

If we had deported no criminal aliens between 2010 and 2015, there would be 1,066,947 criminal aliens still residing in the United States. Even if we control for immigration crimes (illegal re-entry, unlawful presence), there would still be 787,702 alien criminals in the United States, with many eligible for parole to be released back into the community.

These are not victimless crimes. Of this group, 90,134 deported aliens were convicted of assault; 18,859 have been convicted of violent sexual assault. There have been 211,677 deported aliens convicted of possessing and selling dangerous drugs. CHIRLA and NDLON believe that all of these 787,702 criminals should be allowed to stay in the United States.

These organizations do not seem to contemplate the effect that a no-deportation policy would have on all residents, American citizens and immigrants alike. While their position is not likely to become a reality, they are the most stalwart defenders of sanctuary policies, and often claim that immigrants do not commit crimes in large numbers. These figures from DHS cast doubt on that claim.

Sanctuary policies have a direct effect on the removal of criminal aliens from the United States. These policies aim to cripple the effectiveness of federal law enforcement, and will make it harder to remove dangerous criminals from our jails, prisons, and communities. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently remarked, "the most fundamental duty of government is to ensure the safety and liberty of its people." Our federal law enforcement agents, including our immigration agents, kept over one million criminal aliens from endangering Americans from 2010 to 2015, upholding that duty that Attorney General Sessions spoke of. If anything, we should be empowering them and aiding them however we can, not taking away their ability to do their job.