Garance Burke of the Associated Press is reporting that more than half of all people sent to federal prison for committing felony crimes so far this year were Hispanic, a major demographic shift swollen by immigration offenses, according to a new government report released Tuesday.
Hispanics, who already outnumber all other ethnic groups sentenced to serve time in prison for federal felonies, reached a new milestone for the first time this year, making up the majority all federal felony offenders sentenced in the first nine months of fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Hispanics made up 50.3 percent of all people sentenced in that time period, blacks 19.7 percent and whites 26.4 percent. Last year Hispanics made up just 16 percent of the whole U.S. population.
The commission's statistics also reveal that sentences for felony immigration crimes — which include illegal crossing and other crimes, such as alien smuggling — were responsible for most of the increase in the number of Hispanics sent to prison over the last decade.
The demographic change in who is being sent to federal prison has already prompted debate among commissioners and experts studying the impact of expedited court hearings along the border. Critics of the arrests point to what this means for Hispanic families, especially when breadwinners are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses.
Wow, these numbers are pretty alarming. Let's get this straight — Hispanics cross into the country illegally and then we pay to keep them in federal prison for God knows how long, as opposed to sending them back to their home country or having a clear path to citizenship if they're actually going to be here anyway? Yeah, that makes sense.
Read more at the Miami Herald.
In other news: Obama Expected to Propose $300 Billion Jobs Plan.