Illegal immigrants make up 13% of federal prison population

April 17, 2019 GMT

At least 13% of the federal prison population and nearly 30% of those in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service are illegal immigrants, according to new 2018 numbers released by the Justice Department Wednesday.

The report makes good on one of President Trump’s earliest executive orders pushing his administration to reveal more data about the scope of impact of illegal immigrants on government operations.

The report details the number of aliens who were either incarcerated in the Bureau of Prisons or held the marshals, then broke down both categories by who’s in the country legally, who’s here without permission, and who’s still being investigated to determine their status.


All told, nearly 60,000 people in Justice Department custody were known or suspected to be aliens.

Of those, about 38,000 were held in prison, accounting for about 21% of the overall population. Nearly two-thirds were confirmed illegal immigrants and most of the rest are still under investigation for their status. Only a tiny fraction of the aliens had legal status.

As for the marshals, confirmed aliens are 38% of their total population and the vast majority are illegal immigrants, the report concluded.

Immigration crimes were the most common reason for an alien to be in custody, but fraud and firearms charges were also frequent.