Criminal-justice reform is no boon to illegal aliens

A common avenue of attack against criminal-justice reform, particularly its mandatory-minimum provisions, is to invoke the bogeyman of illegal immigration. The argument generally suggests that incarcerated aliens would receive some sort of windfall from the legislation.

One frequently touted statistic holds that, of the 514 federal inmates who were serving a sentence for “simple possession” as of March 2016, 95.5 percent were non-citizens (which would leave just 24 U.S. citizens serving a federal sentence for simple possession).

On its face, the argument appears to suggest that, if Congress passes sentencing reform, illegal aliens would be released onto American streets. Dissecting this argument, one sees various points at which it breaks down.