02/18/2009 - The sharp growth in illegal immigration and increased enforcement of immigration laws have dramatically altered the ethnic composition of offenders sentenced in federal courts. In 2007, Latinos accounted for 40 percent of all those convicted of federal crimes and one third of all federal prison inmates, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank.
Nearly half of all Latino offenders, or about 48 percent, were convicted of immigration crimes. Drug offenses were the second-most prevalent charge among Latino federal convicts, according to the report, which was made public on Wednesday.
As the annual number of federal offenders more than doubled between 1991 and 2007, the number of Latino offenders sentenced in a given year nearly quadrupled, growing to 29,281 from 7,924. Latino convicts now represent the largest ethnic population in the federal prison system, although they make up only 13 percent of the United States population.
Of Latino federal offenders, 72 percent are not United States citizens and most were sentenced in courts from one of four states bordering Mexico. Undocumented federal prisoners are usually deported to their home countries after serving their sentences.
Read the full article Study Shows Sharp Rise in Latino Federal Convicts on the New York Times' Web site.