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Study: 16 percent of illegal immigrants end up rearrested

There is no doubt that immigration is a hot issue this election year. For that reason, many studies and reports are being released on the subject.

A recent congressional study reported that the rearrest-rate for undocumented immigrants is 16 percent. However, the study also points out that the rearrest rate for undocumented immigrants is not even half what it is for the general prison population in the United States.

The study was conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which followed the cases of 46,734 illegal immigrants. The study concluded that of the immigrants who had been arrested and released, more than 200 had been arrested again three years later in connection to murder, attempted murder, sex crimes and other infractions.

While this may seem like a high rate of recidivism, it is much lower than that of the general public, the study reported. When considering the general American public, about 43 percent of prisoners who were released in 2004 ended up back in prison within three years, according to a study from the Pew Center on the States, a nonprofit research group.

A former head of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and current fellow at the Migration Policy Institute said the study shows that the rearrest rate for illegal immigrants is "pretty modest" in comparison with the overarching patterns in the criminal justice system.

Partly because of a controversial program called Secure Communities that was heavily implemented last year, the number of deportations of convicted criminals and repeat immigration violators almost doubled between 2009 and 2011.

Currently, 97 percent of all state, local and tribal police departments in the country use the Secure Communities program, which cross-checks the fingerprints of arrestees with immigration databases as well as the FBI criminal databases.

Source: LA Times, "Illegal immigrant rearrest rate is 16%, study says," Brian Bennett, Aug. 1, 2012

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