Email from PolitiFact Texas, Austin American-Statesman, to Tom Vinger, Texas Department of Public Safety, May 4, 2018

12:20 p.m.



Good afternoon. As promised, I’ve pulled together factual questions about the agency’s web posts here and here.


In your replies, please say who’s providing the information and her or his formal agency title, both of which we require for PolitiFact Texas stories.


Our questions:


  1. The first paragraph of text on the first web page mentions “DHS status indicators.” What are those indicators and how is that information gathered and analyzed? Is the information accessible to the public? Is the information updated monthly or at some other set interval?


  1. The text also uses the term “criminal aliens.” In the context of the text, what does that term mean?


  1. The text says that over 251,000 individuals were charged during their criminal careers with more than 663,000 criminal offenses. How was each of these figures reached? What were the original sources of the information and how was the information gathered or provided? We are interested in the raw figures.


  1. What detailed information does DPS have backing up the statement that over 168,000 individuals, or 66%, were identified as being in the U.S. illegally at their latest arrests? We’d like to be able to fully unpack this statistic, including the back-up figures.


  1. The second paragraph of text on the web page says criminal charges have thus far resulted in over 296,000 convictions and it offers convictions by category. How was this information gathered and from what sources? Over what time period were the tallied convictions accumulated? Were all the convictions in Texas? If not, where were the convictions reached? We would welcome a detailed breakdown.


  1. The paragraph says that over 197,000 or 66% of the convictions are associated with aliens who were identified by DHS status as being in the U.S. illegally at the time of their last (latest?) arrest. How was this information gathered or determined? We’d welcome a detailed breakdown.


  1. Both the text and chart of arrests and convictions appear to sort criminal charges by category. What specific crimes are included under each listed category and why?


  1. Apart from the two web pages, what information does DPS have on the contribution of unauthorized immigrants in Texas to the eight crimes tracked annually in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system often used to track changes in violent and property crime? Has this contribution rate changed over time?


  1. Put another way, how do the results posted on the web pages compare to UCR incident and arrest data reported to police agencies across the state, especially in regard to race and Hispanic origin data?


I’d be happy to elaborate on any of these questions. It would be great to hear back soon.




Want our fact checks first? Follow us on Twitter.

W. Gardner Selby

Reporter / News

Austin American-Statesman

PolitiFact Texas