According to a report by the Pew Research Center, data provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that 50 percent of the 165,265 arrests made by the federal government in 2014 were for offenses related to immigration. In 2004, that figure was 28 percent.
 
While a higher share of arrests for immigration crimes is being made by federal agencies than ever before, the number of drug and firearms arrests continues to fall.
 
Over the law 10 years, arrests for drug and firearms violations have dropped. Federal arrests for drug-related crimes fell from 23 percent of the total arrests in 2004 to 14 percent in 2014. For their part, arrests related to firearms declined from 7 percent to 4 percent during the same period.
 
The number of arrests made by Customs and Border Protection directly with an increase in the level of agency staff, especially during the mid-to-late 2000s. Between 2004 and 2010, Pew reported that the number of Border Patrol officers almost doubled; rising from 10,819 to 20,558.
 
DOJ and DHS account for the vast majority of federal arrests. No other federal departments made more than 1 percent of the arrests in 2014. Interior, Treasury, and the U.S. Postal Service each made fewer than 1,300 arrests that year. State and local law enforcement agencies also made about 1,200 arrests for federal crimes in 2014.
 
Bureau of Justice Statistics data shows an increased focus on immigration.
 
In 2014, 61 percent of all federal arrests involved non-U.S. citizens, up from 43 percent 2004. In contrast, American citizens accounted for 39 percent of all arrests in 2014, down from 57 percent a decade earlier. The geographic distribution of federal arrests shows an increased emphasis on immigration, too. 61 percent of all federal arrests in 2014 – or more than 100,000 – occurred in just five federal judicial districts in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border accounted for  40 percent of all federal arrests.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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