County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that the number of illegal immigrants sentenced for felony crimes in Maricopa County has dropped by 18.5% over the last year. From 2007 to 2008, the percentage of illegal immigrants sentenced for felony crimes similarly fell from 18.7% to 14%.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office released an updated report on the link between illegal immigration and crime which contained these new statistics. The numbers show that a smaller percentage of defendants sentenced in Maricopa County are illegal immigrants, suggesting that illegal immigrants are continuing to leave Maricopa County for other jurisdictions.
The figures are not surprising. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the illegal immigrant population in Arizona has fallen by more than 33% since 2007. That same study found that the illegal immigrant population nationwide dropped by almost 14% during the same time period. The Arizona decline is more than twice the national average and supports the conclusion that stepped-up enforcement of illegal-immigration laws in Maricopa County has played a substantial role in driving down the numbers.
The decrease in illegal immigrant crime parallels a drop in the overall crime rate in Maricopa County, which fell by 8% between 2007 and 2008.
County Attorney Thomas has been a national leader in his crackdowns on illegal immigration, from his battles with the county judiciary to make sure illegal immigrants accused of serious felonies are deniedbond, to prosecuting illegal border crossers who conspire with human smugglers. Thomas stated, “These numbers show that crackdowns on illegal immigration work, and these initiatives are bringing down crime rates. Sheriff Arpaio and I have drawn pickets and protests from the illegalimmigrant lobby. We’re willing to put up with these attacks because our efforts are reducing crime and making our community safer.”