During Austin tapings of his Fox News show last month, Sean Hannity thrice showed figures suggesting immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission have been convicted of up to 75 percent of federal crimes in recent years.
In back-to-back episodes featuring Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Hannity presented a slide listing the percentage of “illegal immigrant federal convictions” in fiscal 2015 for five crimes.
On night one, Hannity showed the slide at the top of his show while saying “in the last year alone, illegal immigrants” were “responsible for 18 percent of drug trafficking, 30 percent of kidnapping/hostage taking, 75 percent of drug possession, 10 percent of money laundering, 21 percent of national defense and 5 percent of murder sentences.”
Some 30 minutes later, Hannity showed the slide again and said to Trump: “Something’s wrong.”
“Yeah, it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” Trump replied, “and everybody knows it’s wrong.”
So, we wondered, was Hannity right about the listed crimes?
His slide referenced the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which gathers information on federal crime and sentencing issues.
Using data from the commission, we confirmed that Hannity’s numbers were accurate. They were drawn from data on 32 federal offenses for which citizens, noncitizens and, in particular, “illegal aliens” were sentenced in fiscal 2015.
In general, those classified as “illegal aliens” accounted for 25,670, or 37 percent, of 70,225 individuals convicted of all federal crimes in the 12 months through September 2015. That includes 18,782 sentenced for immigration offenses.
The “illegal alien” category accounted for the following share of convictions in the crimes cited by Hannity:
–1,640 of 2,181 total convictions (75 percent) in which the primary charge was simple drug possession.
–13 of 43 convictions (30 percent) for kidnapping/hostage taking.
–21 of 100 convictions (21 percent) for “national defense” crimes, which include convictions for exporting arms, munitions or military equipment without a license or providing material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations or for terrorist purposes, per a 2013 commission report.
–3,555 of 19,989 convictions (18 percent) for drug trafficking.
–69 of 665 convictions (10 percent) for money laundering.
–5 of 91 convictions, or 5.5 percent, for murder.
Sliced another way, the commission tallies show U.S. citizens drew 51 percent or more of all convictions across 29 offense categories including manslaughter (96 percent U.S. citizens); murder (84 percent); sexual abuse (95 percent); robbery (98 percent); drug trafficking (74 percent); bribery (93 percent); money laundering (76 percent); racketeering/extortion (87 percent); child pornography (96 percent); and burglary/breaking and entering (100 percent).
Notably too, Hannity’s chart presents percentages of unauthorized immigrants convicted of selected federal crimes — not exploring the residency statuses of the far greater number of U.S. residents prosecuted by state and local authorities. That’s leaving out a lot of people. For instance, as of August 2016, Texas alone held about 146,800 state prison inmates. As we completed this fact check, federal prisons altogether held nearly 193,000 inmates.
Hannity’s slide states that in fiscal 2015, “illegal immigrants” represented 5 percent to 75 percent of U.S. residents convicted of five federal crimes ranging from murder to simple drug possession.
Those figures accurately reflect federal data though a comprehensive picture would arguably fold in individuals convicted on similar state and local charges.
We rate the statement True.
Statement: Says that in 2015, “illegal immigrants” accounted for 75 percent of federal drug possession convictions and 5 percent to 30 percent of convictions for murder and kidnapping and two other crimes.
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