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The Nation
November 28, 2016

Donald Trump’s Looming Mass Criminalization
By Seth Freed Wessler

No federal agency tallies how many of this country’s undocumented immigrants have been convicted of a crime. Trump’s estimate is likely drawn from ICE data indicating that approximately 1.9 million noncitizens of every status—including green-card holders—have convictions. The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute has come up with a best estimate, based on an analysis of ICE’s data on people deported in 2012. The MPI calculates that roughly 7 percent of this country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants have a criminal conviction, or around 820,000 people. Of these, says Randy Capps, MPI’s director of research, an estimated 300,000 were convicted of felonies. Some of those 300,000 felonies were serious or violent crimes—assault, burglary, manslaughter—but most, Capps says, were drug crimes. And many of those convicted are felons in the sense that Diaz-Castro may soon be: guilty of the crime of border crossing. “There just are not enough of these criminals to deport,” says Susan Long, the head of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group at Syracuse University that analyzes federal law-enforcement data. “So we go looking for people to deport, and we’re catching grandmothers who had a shoplifting charge 30 years ago.”

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2016
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