Illegal immigrants who have been deported at least once from the U.S. are far more likely than other immigrants to commit crime repeatedly, says a Rand Corp. study reported by the Los Angeles Times. The data indicated that illegal immigrants overall, were not a greater crime risk. The study looked at all inmates released from Los Angeles County Jail for a month in 2002. Among those who previously had been deported, reentered the U.S. and were arrested and released from jail, nearly 75 percent went on to commit another crime within a year. And 28 perecent were arrested three or more times during the one-year period. The recidivism rate was much lower for illegal immigrants who had not been deported, with 32 percent of those inmates being rearrested within a year and 7 percent arrested three or more times during that year.
Since the data were collected, the Los Angeles County Sheriff has overhauled screening for illegal immigrants and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has poured resources into border security. Still, “If you are trying to target people who are repeatedly cycled through the criminal justice system, this looks like a good risk marker,” said researcher Laura Hickman of Portland State University. “It doesn’t make sense to just sweep up all deportable aliens, but to focus resources on the group who are at the most risk for committing new crimes in the community.” The study was limited because the immigration status of many inmates wasn’t determined, and others may have falsely claimed U.S. birth. The report was published online in the journal Crime & Delinquency.