Immigration Convictions for March 2008
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2008 the government reported 8104 new immigration convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 24.4% 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 2008 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of convictions was up (81.8 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 217.7 percent from levels reported in 2003.
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 28.1 percent instead of 217.7 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. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.
Figure 2: Convictions by Investigative Agency
Virtually all federal criminal convictions for immigration offenses in March 2008
(100 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 2008, 74 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 93.1 percent of all magistrate convictions in March.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "8 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (6%).
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 2008.
Table 2: Top charges for convictions
"Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
"Reentry of deported alien" (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1326) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was the 1 most frequently invoked 5 years ago..
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324.
"Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was the 2 most frequently invoked 5 years ago..
Ranked 3rd was "Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc." under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325.
"Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc." under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was the 3 most frequently invoked 5 years ago..
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in convictions—up 250 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—154.5 %—when compared with five years ago.
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 22 percent—was
Forgery or false use of passport
(Title 18 U.S.C Section 1543 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 66.5 percent—was
for convictions where the lead charge was " Fraud/false statements or entries generally
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1001
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
The District of Arizona—with 360 convictions—was the most active during March 2008.
The District of Arizona was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.
The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.
The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.
Southern District of Texas (Houston) is now ranking 3rd.
The Southern District of Texas (Houston) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Eastern District of California (Sacramento), now ranked
, and South Carolina
In the same order, these districts ranked 12th and 25th one year ago and 7th and 23rd five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in immigration convictions compared to one year ago— 111 percent—was
Central District of California (Los Angeles).
This was the same district that had the largest increase— 109.6 %—when compared with five years ago.
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in immigration convictions— 8.3 percent—was
Middle District of Florida (Tampa).
But over the past five years,
Eastern District of California (Sacramento)
showed the largest drop— 42.4 percent.
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 2008 are shown in Table 4.
All 12 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of immigration convictions . (Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Robert C. Brack in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 119 convicted in immigration convictions.
Judge Brackalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).
Judge Frank Montalvo in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 75 convicted in immigration convictions.
Judge Montalvoalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 8).
Judge Kathleen Cardone in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 72 convicted in immigration convictions.