Q&A – The Impact of Migrant Crime in Florida

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Q&A – The Impact of Migrant Crime in Florida 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.       

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com      

Social: @brianmuddradio     

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.        

Today’s Entry: Good day Brian, It’s all over the news. Migrant crime in San Diego, El Paso, Chicago, LA, New York… But, if Florida has the most migrants of any state? Where is the outcry about migrant crime in Florida? What are the facts? 

Bottom Line: I’ll get right to it. The facts these... 15.3% of the federal prison population is currently comprised of non-citizens, while just under 1% of the county prison population is comprised of non-citizens in Florida. So essentially, 16% of all who are imprisoned aren’t legal US citizens. Here’s another way of looking at the issue. If you’d like 16% of all crime in Florida to stop. Stop illegal immigrants/"noncitizens” from coming to and staying in Florida. Now that you have the facts, I’ll work my way backwards in providing additional context to this situation and this story.  

As you've referenced, the top destination for illegal immigrants under the Biden administration hasn’t been California, Illinois, New York or even Texas – despite what often appear to be bigger impacts in those states and specific cities within them, than what is experienced in Florida. This is true in terms of last week’s expose from the Center for Immigration Studies uncovering the Biden administration's covert migrant flight program which is directly flying illegal immigrants into the United States from wherever they are around the world. It’s true if you analyze processing data from the Department of Homeland Security as presented by Syracuse University’s TRAC program. In fact, the county with the most current pending deportations in the country is Miami-Dade with 141,218. The next closest county is Los Angeles at 105k pending deportations. What you’ve raised is the question as to why it is that we regularly see and hear of so many problems in other states and cities given Florida’s high volume of illegal immigrants. There are three contributing reasons for that perception.  

  1. News media’s coverage 
  2. State and local laws and enforcement 
  3. The composition of non-citizens by location 

Let’s start with news coverage of the criminal impact of illegal immigration. There are currently over 64,000 inmates across Florida right now. In a state as large and as populous as Florida there are a lot of people arrested every day for various offenses. It’s a total that’s far more than any news outlet could cover. It’s for that reason that typically the only crimes that we see or hear about in the news are those that either impact a large number of people, or are sensational and/or are high-profile offenses. It was only four weeks ago that Palm Beach County was home to a national news story involving three illegal immigrants – the abduction and repeating raping of a woman near John Prince Park. It was also right around that time that there was another national news story involving illegal immigrants in Florida. In Polk County, 21 illegal immigrants were arrested for their roles in a massive human sex trafficking operation within the state. These tend to be the types of stories you’ll see and hear reported. And the reason that’s generally the case is due to the second reason I outlined. State/local laws and the enforcement of them.  

It’s no secret that Florida’s not a sanctuary state. But not only is Florida not a sanctuary state, one of Governor DeSantis’ original priorities upon becoming governor, was to ban sanctuary cities within the state of Florida. Prior to the passage of that law in 2019, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, there were sanctuary jurisdictions within 29 of Florida’s 67 counties. One year later, in 2020, there were none. Had Florida not had that law in place by the time record numbers of noncitizens began flowing into Florida under the Biden administration it’s possible you may have had cities in Florida with visuals and problems similar to what we see in locations like New York, Chicago, LA, etc. Those cities are all examples of what happens when both state governments and local governments engage in sanctuary policies. It also multiplies the problem. Due to Florida’s tough on-crime approach, when non-citizens are arrested for crimes, they’re prosecuted for those crimes – unlike sanctuary jurisdictions where they’re commonly released within a matter of minutes after having been arrested without having to even post bail. This leads to a multiplication effect among the bad actors within those communities that’s not present in Florida as compared to sanctuary states and cities within them. And that takes us to the third prominent factor. The composition of illegal immigrants attracted to Florida compared to other locations.  

As Todd Bensman from the Center for Immigration Studies told us last week, in interviewing migrants that are set to enter the United States, he’s found that commonly they breakout into three groups:  

  • Those that are seeking work 
  • Those that are seeking to get on government assistance programs (perhaps in addition to finding work) 
  • Those who have friends and/or family in a location 

For those seeking maximum government programs and handouts the sanctuary jurisdictions are obviously going to be the Meca for maximizing those opportunities. Bensman has found that many, if not most, of those lacking legal status entering Florida know people or have family already here. As a result, it’s common that illegal immigrants in Florida are often taken in by those with legal status. This makes it easier for the large numbers of illegal immigrants into our state not being as visible as those who are dropped off, say in New York City, seeking government goodies.  

According to the Pew Research Center it’s estimated that between 5%-6% of Florida’s population is undocumented. That the current prison population is approximately 16% comprised (primarily in the federal prison system) of noncitizens is illustrative of the disproportionate criminal impact of illegal immigrants in Florida.  

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