Rearrests of Noncitizens Subsequent to Immigration Removal from the United States

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International Criminal Justice Review

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Deportation or removal from the United States for criminal justice–involved noncitizens has been described as analogous to incapacitation. A common assertion is that if immigration authorities remove these noncitizens from the United States, future criminal justice involvement will be averted. The present study explores the hypothesized incapacitation effect of immigration removal and tests whether a record of prior removal predicts postremoval rearrest patterns. The sample consists of 521 foreign-born males with a verified immigration removal from the United States, following transfer into federal immigration custody from Los Angeles County Jail in 2002. California rearrests after the date of verified U.S. removal were tracked through 2011. Results indicate that 48% of the sample was rearrested at least once and 22% had three or more postremoval arrests. These findings do not support the hypothesis that deportation equates to permanent incapacitation. The study also found that a record of prior removal did not predict postremoval rearrest likelihood or frequency. As a single longitudinal study and the first of its kind, these results alone cannot inform responsible policy recommendations. The study does, however, highlight directions for further research and the pressing need for access to individual-level immigration data for empirical study and public distribution of results.


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