With sufficient resources, Los Angeles County could identify and deport more than 34,000 criminals a year who have been residing in the country illegally, according to figures recently reported in the Los Angeles Times.
Don’t get me wrong . . . that’s not the way the paper reported it. But the figures are there, in this recent article. You have to wade through some statistics from Orange County first:
Ten percent of inmates arriving in the Orange County sheriff’s jail system during the first five weeks of a new screening program were found to be likely illegal immigrants and were set to face hearings that could result in their deportation.
The statistics were from Jan. 19 to Feb. 25, as Sheriff Michael S. Carona began requiring that jail deputies screen all foreign nationals for immigration violations.
The findings come as law enforcement agencies around Southern California and beyond are trying to determine how many of their inmates are here illegally and should be deported.
By the fourth paragraph, we work our way around to Los Angeles County, where the percentage of suspected illegals in jail is estimated to be over 20%:
In Los Angeles County, an increase in screeners has nearly doubled the number of inmates identified as illegal immigrants, from 3,050 in 2005 to 5,829 last year. But the county and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are screening only a fraction of the inmates in Los Angeles County jails. Last year, screeners interviewed nearly 10,000 of the 170,000 inmates who went through L.A. County jails, estimating that more than 20% of the jail population was in the country illegally.
More than 20% of 170,000 are thought to be illegal! If we deported them all, we’d be getting more than 34,000 criminals out of Los Angeles County.
So how could we devote more resources to the problem? In Orange County, sheriff’s deputies do the original screening — which allows them to screen all inmates:
By contrast, Orange County now screens all inmates entering the jails. Jail deputies booked 6,160 people from throughout the county during the period, and they found that 639 did not appear to have legal status in the United States. They will be referred to ICE after their cases go through the legal system and they serve any resulting prison time.
Of those detained for ICE, 425 were arrested on suspicion of felonies — 56 of them on suspicion of aggravated felonies — and 214 for alleged misdemeanors.
This certainly makes it sound as though having sheriff’s deputies do immigration screening is helping Orange County officials catch more criminals residing here illegally. Interestingly, Michael Hiltzik disputed this last year. In a column about the Mayor of Costa Mesa’s plan to have the Sheriff’s Department help ICE do immigration screening of jail inmates, Hiltzik assuried L.A. Times readers that all felony suspects were already being checked:
What’s often lost in the debate is how ineffective the mayor’s program is likely to be. The current plan is for the city to participate in a program that Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona is trying to set up with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE. But the county program hasn’t been accepted by ICE despite a year of talks, and nobody knows when it will be. In current practice, the Sheriff’s Department holds felony suspects thought to be illegal immigrants – including those arrested in Costa Mesa – in the county jail, where ICE agents check them out.
A little number-crunching, using numbers from recent L.A. Times articles, shows this claim to be wildly untrue — as I argued at the time.
According to the recent article, in five weeks, Orange County law enforcement booked and checked the immigration status of 6,160 people — an average of 1232 inmates per week, or roughly 5000 checked a month. In that same five weeks, they found 639 illegals in the jail, 425 (two-thirds) of which were alleged felons — an average of 85 suspected felons a week, or about 340 per month. Unless illegal immigrants commit felonies on a disproportionately greater basis than non-illegals (which I seriously doubt), then 2/3 of the 6,160 inmates checked were booked on felony charges. That’s about 4,065 imnates over the five-week period, meaning that about 3300 inmates booked on felony charges flow through the jail every month.
The L.A. Times reported in January:
Orange County Jail officials ran immigration checks on about 200 foreign-born inmates a month in 2005, the latest available figures.
Assuming that the general arrest rate was about the same in 2005 as today, these figures mean that about 3300 felony suspects flowed into Orange County jails every month in 2005 — and officials checked the immigration status of only about 200, or 6 percent.
The bottom line: Hiltzik claimed that Orange County officials were checking the immigration status of all felony suspects — and instead they were checking the status of only about 6 percent.
Now they are checking all of them. And Orange County is reaping the benefits.
What would it mean to Los Angeles to be able to able to deport 34,000 criminals a year? How many homes and businesses would not be burglarized? How many people would not be raped or robbed or shot?
How many people would not be killed?
This story should have been the lead story in the paper in which it appeared, and the first sentence should have read something like the first sentence of this post.
But P.C. orthodoxy would never allow that. So you’ll have to get the real analysis here.
All I can ask is that you spread the word.