What’s the Most Serious Crime Problem Facing the Nation? Wrong!

March 16, 2010

By Terry Smiljanich:

Given the fact that the economic crisis of 2008 is costing this country trillions of dollars.  And given that it was brought on in part by the criminal conduct of some financial institutions, not to mention all those who helped them, it stands to reason that federal prosecutions from October, 2008 to September 2009 (Fiscal Year 2008) would reflect that.  Right?

Actually, not at all. The most serious crime facing our nation during these troubled times has been . . . wait for it. That’s right – illegal immigration!

Corporate Fraud Takes a Back Seat

By a long shot, immigration prosecutions far, far outweighed corporate and financial fraud prosecutions in the country during that time. Specifically, there were 91,879 immigration prosecutions, with 92% of those being prosecutions of aliens illegally entering the country. During that same time there were 178 financial fraud prosecutions, and a grand total of 82 corporate fraud cases.

This means that during a time when taxpayers were asked to pony up $800 billion in bailout money to help the very financial institutions that contributed to the problem, there were 1,121 illegal aliens prosecuted for every single corporate fraud defendant.

Easier to be Corporate Criminal than Illegal Alien

And of the 91,879 immigration prosecutions, how many were prosecutions of businesses who hired the illegal aliens? It is hard to believe, but true, that only 13 employers were prosecuted for the felony offense of hiring illegal aliens. So it’s much, much safer to be a criminal corporation than to be an illegal alien.

This is all part of a longer trend. While immigration prosecutions have steadily increased over time, with a huge jump in 2007, non-immigration prosecutions have actually dropped since 2004.

Is this all just a consequence of 9/11 and the “war on terrorism?” That rationale conveniently forgets that all 19 al-Qaeda hijackers were legal aliens.

Homeland Security Agency Outpaces FBI

The FBI used to be the premier federal law enforcement agency. No longer. The Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol is the lead agency in referring federal crimes for prosecution (46.5%), followed by the Department of Home land Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (12%). In third place is the Drug Enforcement Administration with 9.5% of prosecution referrals. In fourth place is the FBI, with only 8.7%  of the referrals.

And even the FBI has been forced to refocus its efforts on terrorism at the expense of white collar crime investigations.

New Task Force on Financial Crime

The Obama administration announced in November the creation of a “Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force,” to coordinate efforts tot increase prosecutions of financial crimes. This replaces the “Corporate Fraud Task Force,” created by President Bush in 2002, which accomplished nothing much more than an overall decrease in fraud prosecutions. Will the new task force make any difference? I don’t think so – not as long as homeland security and the “war on terror” remains the number one crime issue for most Americans.

So perhaps the huge financial crisis of 2008, the aftermath of which we will continue to feel for some time, has a fairly simple explanation. When you remove federal restrictions to allow greater freedom from pesky regulations, and when you remove the cop from the beat, crime goes up. Go figure!