Immigration Convictions for December 2006
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2006 the government reported 2180 new immigration convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access
Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 7.4% over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for immigration-related
offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom
of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. (See
When monthly 2006 convictions are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the numbers were down (-12.5 percent).
Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that the convictions are up 142.9
percent from levels reported in 2001.
The substantial growth in
these cases is partly related to increases in the matters filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. If magistrate cases
are excluded and only Federal District Court cases are counted, the overall increase in
immigration convictions is 53.2 percent instead of 142.9 percent.
The evidence suggests that part of the difference may be the result of improvements in the recording of the magistrate cases
by the Justice Department.
Figure 1: Criminal Immigration Convictions over the last five years
The increase from the levels five years ago in immigration convictions is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of immigration convictions recorded on a month-to-month
basis. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so
that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average.
Figure 2: Convictions by Investigative Agency
Virtually all federal criminal convictions for immigration offenses in December 2006
(99 percent) were referred by the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). The two lead investigative agencies in DHS are Customs and Border Protection (CBP) whose border patrol
agencies guard the county's borders, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responsible for conducting
most immigration criminal investigations
under the immigration laws. See Figure 2.
Lead Charge in Immigration Convictions
US Magistrate Courts
In December 2006, 39 percent of immigration cases took place in U.S. Magistrate Courts which handle less serious
misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses."
In the magistrate courts in December the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 involving the "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.". This was the lead charge
for 59.8 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "8 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (29.7%).
US District Courts
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of immigration matters
filed in U.S. District Court during December 2006.
Table 2: Top charges for convictions
"Reentry of deported alien" (8 U.S.C Section 1326) was the most frequent recorded
This statute was also ranked 1st a year ago as well as five years ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens"
under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324.
This statute was also ranked 2nd a year ago as well as five years ago.
Ranked 3rd was "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc." under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325.
This statute was also ranked 3rd a year ago as well as five years ago.
Figure 3: District Court vs.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in convictions—up 181.1 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028
that involves " Fraud and related activity - id documents
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—240 percent—was registered for
convictions under " Forgery or false use of passport
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1543 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 52.2 percent—was
Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
(Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 54.4 percent—was
for convictions where the lead charge was " False personification - Citizen of the US
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 911
Immigration Convictions by Judicial District
Understandably, there is great variation in the number of immigration convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of convictions last month are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Top 10 districts
Southern District of Texas (Houston)—with 250 convictions—was the most active during December 2006.
This district was ranked 1st a year ago as well as five years ago.
Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.
This marked a fall from Texas West's
2ndplace ranking just one year ago.
Five years ago, the district's position was 3.
Arizona is now
It moved up in its rankings from a year ago when it ranked 5th.
Five years ago, the district's position was 4.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Kansas , now ranked
This district ranked 22th
one year ago and 28th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in immigration convictions compared to one year ago— 118.9 percent—was
This was the same district that had the largest increase— 383.3 %—when compared with five years ago.
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in immigration convictions— 47 percent—was
Central District of California (Los Angeles).
But over the past five years,
Southern District of California (San Diego)
showed the largest drop— 1.9 percent.
Top Ranked District Judges
At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. For the entire nation, the judges recorded with the largest number of new immigration crime cases resulting in convictions
during December 2006 are shown in Table 4.
All 10 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of immigration convictions .
Judge Robert C. Brack in the
ranked 1st with 50 convicted in immigration convictions.
Judge Brackalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago
Judge Hilda G. Tagle in the
Southern District of Texas (Houston)
ranked 2nd with 42 convicted in immigration convictions.
Judge Tagle also appeared in the top ten rankings one year
(ranked 7th) and five years ago (rank 6th).
Judge Andrew S. Hanen in
Southern District of Texas (Houston)
ranked 2nd as well with 42 new immigration convictions.