The population of white male jail inmates in Phoenix’ Maricopa County has dropped in the past five years, while the population of Hispanic male inmates has increased to the point that they make up the ethnic majority, reports the Arizona Republic. Experts attribute the increase to population trends coupled with recent laws and policy decisions targeting illegal immigrants.
The majority of Hispanics in county jails are not in the U.S. illegally. However, most of the illegal immigrants jailed as a result of immigration-enforcement efforts are Latino. In 2006, County Attorney Andrew Thomas began to allow prosecutors to charge illegal immigrants as co-conspirators in their own smuggling. Voters also approved Proposition 100, which denies bail to illegal immigrants.