Federal arrests of noncitizens have increased exponentially over the past two decades and account for the majority of all federal arrests, data released by the Justice Department reveals.

Noncitizens made up 64% of all federal arrests in 2018 despite making up 7% of the U.S. population, according to Justice Department data released Thursday and reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Between 1998 and 2018, federal arrests of noncitizens grew by 234%, while federal arrests of U.S. citizens climbed 10%.

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Although the numbers provide credence to President Donald Trump’s argument that illegal immigration results in increased crime, immigration experts also pointed out that migrant apprehensions make up a significant portion of current federal arrests.

“Experience has taught the immigration agencies and DOJ that this works to reduce recidivism—in other words, when illegal crossers face some more severe consequence than just being sent back home, they don’t keep doing it,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Examiner.

Trump made increased immigration enforcement a hallmark goal of his administration. His efforts at beefing up border security and providing additional funding to U.S. Customs and Border Protection have yielded results. Federal immigration apprehensions climbed more than 50,000 from 2017 to 2018, according to the Justice Department data.

Fully 95% of the increase in federal arrests over the past 20 years were, in fact, due to immigration offenses, the Justice Department data found. Noncitizens accounted for 28% of all federal fraud arrests, 25% of all federal property arrests, and 24% of all federal drug arrests.

The Justice Department identified the top five crimes noncitizens were most likely to be prosecuted for: illegal re-entry, drugs, fraud, alien smuggling, and misuse of visas.

“Opponents of immigration enforcement are obsessed with trying to establish that illegal aliens and legal immigrants commit fewer crimes than Americans,” Vaughan said, “and so, as their narrative goes, local law enforcement agencies should not cooperate with ICE and should adopt sanctuary policies.”

“This is first of all not true, but is off-point and a dangerous conclusion,” she said.

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