Federal Government Spent About $700 Million On Non-Citizen Federal Prisoners In 2014

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) reveals that an estimated $700 million was spent housing non-citizen federal inmates in 2014.

The July report also shows that 11.2 percent of federal inmates, 23,532, were non-citizens in calendar year 2014. The Bureau of Prisons estimated that an average of $30,619.85 was spent per federal prisoner in fiscal year 2014. The fiscal year includes all but three months of a calendar year.

According to BOP figures, from April 23, over 15 percent of federal prisoners have Mexican citizenship. The CRS report found that non-citizens were in prison most commonly for drug or immigration offenses. They made up 45.5 percent of drug crime offenders and 43.3 percent of immigration offenders in federal prison in 2013.

File photo of inmates walking around a gymnasium where they are housed due to overcrowding at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino

The report also shows that non-citizens make up 3.5 percent of prisoners at the state and local level. In total, non-citizens making up 4.6 percent of all inmates in local, state and federal prisons.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics does, however warn that “because federal and state departments of corrections and county jails have varying definitions of non-citizens, one should exercise caution when interpreting these results,” the CRS report states.

California, for example, has not reported the non-citizen population of its prisons in 2014 to the federal government. “Between 2008 and 2012 an average of 16,871 non-citizen prisoners were incarcerated in California state prisons. If this average figure were added to the state total of 47,861 shown in the table, the non-citizen percentage of state prisoners for 2014 would increase from 3.5 percent to 4.8 percent and the non-citizen percentage of all state and federal prisoners would increase from 4.6 percent to 5.7 percent.”

Texas Republican Rep. Brian Babin told The Daily Caller, “This is further reason as to why we must get serious about deporting criminal aliens. It’s ridiculous that American taxpayers are paying billions of dollars a year at the federal, state and local level to house illegal immigrant prisoners — particularly when there are common-sense steps that we should be taking to force their home countries to take them back.”