Immigration Prosecutions for January 2007
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during January 2007 the government reported 3206 new immigration prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access
Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 35.5% over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with 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 2007 prosecutions are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the filings were down (-13.9 percent).
Prosecutions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that the prosecutions are up 132.6
percent from levels reported in 2002.
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 prosecutions is 4.9 percent instead of 132.6 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 Prosecutions over the last five years
The increase from the levels five years ago in immigration prosecutions is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of immigration prosecutions 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: Prosecutions by Investigative Agency
Virtually all federal criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses in January 2007
(98 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 Prosecutions
US Magistrate Courts
In January 2007, 81 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 January 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 44.5 percent of all magistrate filings in January.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "8 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (40%), "8 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" (8.8%).
US District Courts
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of immigration matters
filed in U.S. District Court during January 2007.
Table 2: Top charges filed
"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 prosecutions—up 100 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 922
that involves " Firearms; Unlawful acts
This was the same statute that had the largest increase—200 %—when compared with five years ago.
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 58.7 percent—was
Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
(Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 ).
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 64.1 %—when compared with five years ago.
Immigration Prosecutions by Judicial District
Understandably, there is great variation in the number of immigration prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of prosecutions last month are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Top 10 districts
Southern District of Texas (Houston)—with 94 prosecutions—was the most active during January 2007.
The district's position last year was 1st.
Five years ago, the district's position was 2.
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 4.
Southern District of California (San Diego) is now
It moved up in its rankings from a year ago when it ranked 5th.
Five years ago, the district's position was 3.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Oregon , now ranked
, and Eastern District of Washington (Spokane)
In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 14th
one year ago and 10th and 15th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in immigration prosecutions compared to one year ago— 28.3 percent—was
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 66.9 percent—was
Southern District of Florida (Miami).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in immigration prosecutions— 54.4 percent—was
New Mexico .
But over the past five years,
Northern District of New York (Syracuse)
showed the largest drop— 36.1 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
during January 2007 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 9 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of immigration filings , while the remaining 1 judges were from other districts.
Judge Robert C. Brack in the
ranked 1st with 36 defendants in immigration cases.
Judge Brackalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago
Judge Andrew S. Hanen in the
Southern District of Texas (Houston)
ranked 2nd with 20 defendants in immigration cases.
Judge Hanen also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago
Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa in
Southern District of Texas (Houston)
ranked 3rd with 18 new immigration cases.
Judge Hinojosa also appeared in the top ten rankings one year
and five years ago (rank 7th).