The Department of Justice Tuesday released its first set of data on the incarceration rates of undocumented immigrants ordered by President Trump in an effort to build a case for more aggressive enforcement of immigration laws.
Of the 45,493 foreign-born inmates in the federal prison system made up of 188,658 inmates, the Justice Department said 3,939 are U.S. citizens.
According to the agency data, immigration orders have been issued for 54.2 percent — about 22,541 — of the remaining 41,554 incarcerated immigrants. Another 33.4 percent, about 13,886 inmates, are under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible removal.
The Justice Department said about 12.3 percent — or 5,101 — of the illegal immigrants behind bars are still waiting adjudication and 26 have been granted relief because they risk persecution or serious harm if they are deported.
“Illegal aliens who commit additional crimes in the United States are a threat to public safety and a burden on our criminal justice system,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
“This is why we must secure our borders through a wall and effective law enforcement, and we must strengthen cooperation between federal, state and local governments as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty of protecting and serving the American people.”
The data is a requirement of the executive order Trump signed in January to strip so-called sanctuary cities, which do not assist federal authorities with immigration enforcement, of federal grant funding and map out new priorities in enforcing immigration laws.
The order directs Sessions to collect and provide quarterly data on incarcerated immigrants. The Justice Department claims this first batch “shows a significant significant prison population of incarcerated aliens.”