Immigration Convictions for March 2007
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2007 the government reported 3028 new immigration convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 5.4% 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 Table 1)
When monthly 2007 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-8.8 percent).
Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are up 136.2 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 convictions is 46.1 percent instead of 136.2 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 for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of immigration convictions of this type 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 March 2007
(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.
Immigration Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In March 2007, 47 percent of immigration cases for these matters took place in U.S. Magistrate Courts which handle less serious
misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses."
In the magistrate courts in March 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 74.3 percent of all magistrate convictions in March.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "8 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (18.2%).
Immigration Convictions in U.S. District Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of immigration matters
filed in U.S. District Court during March 2007.
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.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in convictions—up 550 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1015
that involves " Fraud - Nat'zation, citizenship, alien registry
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—92.8 percent—was registered for
convictions under " Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 50.1 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— 50.9 %—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
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 of this type last month are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Top 10 districts
Southern District of Texas (Houston)—with 328 convictions—was the most active during March 2007.
This district was also ranked 1st a year ago as well as five years ago.
Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.
This district was also ranked 2nd a year ago.
Five years ago, the district's position was 3.
Arizona is now
This district was ranked 4th a year ago as well as five years ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Puerto Rico , now ranked
, and Eastern District of Washington (Spokane)
In the same order, these districts ranked 15th and 18th one year ago and 20th and 19th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in immigration convictions compared to one year ago— 71.9 percent—was
Eastern District of Washington (Spokane).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 88.6 percent—was
Southern District of Texas (Houston).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in immigration convictions— 39.3 percent—was
Central District of California (Los Angeles).
This was the same district that had the largest increase— 11 %—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked District Judges
At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new immigration crime cases resulting in convictions of this type
during March 2007 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 Micaela Alvarez in the
Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 58 convicted in immigration convictions.
Judge Alvarezalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago
Judge David Briones in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 55 convicted in immigration convictions.
Judge Briones also appeared in the top ten rankings one year
(ranked 8th) and five years ago (rank 1st).
Judge Andrew S. Hanen in the
Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 53 new immigration convictions.
Judge Hanen also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago