Sorry Mr. President, Americans Get Arrested More Often Than DACA Applicants

Sorry Mr. President, Americans Get Arrested More Often Than DACA Applicants

Alex Nowrasteh

Politics, Americas

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released a new report.

Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated an earlier report on arrests and apprehensions of illegal immigrants who requested Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The updated report shows that of the 888,818 people who applied for DACA, 118,371 had been arrested at one time or another.

Many of those arrested were not approved for DACA, but some were because many arrests don’t lead to convictions. Those 118,371 people had been arrested a total of 202,025 times for all crimes and civil infractions, including violations of immigration law. Subtracting the number arrested for immigration infractions lowers the number to 95,343 DACA applicants being arrested. The DACA applicant arrest rate was 80 percent below the non-DACA applicant (all others) arrest rate.

The USCIS report does not provide arrest rates for DACA applicants or other populations in the United States. As a result, there is no standard of comparison for the number of arrests mentioned in the USCIS report. However, some data released in the report do allow for a back of the envelope comparison between the arrest rate for DACA applicants and the arrest rate for the population of all others.

Below, I will describe the comparative arrest rates and how I calculated them.

Comparing arrest rates requires making two simple assumptions. First, I assume that the youngest person arrested who was a DACA applicant was 13 years old and that arrest occurred in 1993 (DACA is only available to those born in 1981 or later). This is based on Table 6 of the USCIS report that breaks down arrests by age. Only 5,076 of the arrests were of DACA applicants age 14 or younger. Changing the year does not affect the direction of the outcomes.

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