Immigration Convictions for March 2013

Number Latest Month 8,120
Percent Change from previous month 22.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago 17.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 68.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 22.1
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2013 the government reported 8120 new immigration convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 22.3% 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 2013 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (17.4 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 68 percent from levels reported in 2008.

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 22.1 percent instead of 68 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.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in immigration convictions

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. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court, the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends. 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.

Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 2: Convictions by investigative agency

Virtually all federal criminal convictions for immigration offenses in March 2013 (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 2013, 5773 defendants in immigration cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court where subsequent proceedings take place.

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 79.5 percent of all magistrate convictions in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (19.6%).

Immigration Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2013, 2347 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there were an additional 0 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and therefore cover all matters filed in district court during March.

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 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,881 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 212 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 96 3 3 4 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 54 4 4 3 More
18 USC 911 - False personification - Citizen of the US 21 5 5 6 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 21 5 6 11 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 9 7 10 5 More
18 USC 1542 - False statement in application and use of passport 9 7 7 8 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 8 9 9 14 More
42 USC 408 - Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties 6 10 12 13 More
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 ranked 1 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. "Bringing in and harboring certain aliens" under Title 8 U.S.C Section 1324 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546. "Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1546 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions—up 22.3 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1544 that involves " Misuse of passport ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—448.4 %—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 45.7 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— 74.5 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Fraud and related activity - id documents " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028 ).

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.


Judicial District Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Texas, W 523 1 1 2 More
Texas, S 411 2 3 1 More
N Mexico 309 3 5 5 More
Cal, S 295 4 4 4 More
Arizona 131 5 2 3 More
Ill, C 49 6 58 50 More
Fla, M 37 7 10 9 More
Fla, S 35 8 7 7 More
N Car, E 35 8 52 24 More
Utah 32 10 14 8 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Western District of Texas (San Antonio)—with 523 convictions—was the most active during March 2013. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd. The Southern District of Texas (Houston) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • District of New Mexico is now ranking 3rd. The District of New Mexico was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Utah , now ranked 10th , and Eastern District of North Carolina (Raleigh) at 8th In the same order, these districts ranked 14th and 52nd one year ago and 8th and 24th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in immigration convictions compared to one year ago— 386.7 percent—was Central District of Illinois (Springfield). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 356.3 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in immigration convictions— 55.1 percent—was Arizona .  This was the same district that had the largest increase— 17.5 percent—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 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 230 1 7 1 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 99 2 1 - More
Kazen, George P. Texas, S 66 3 24 2 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 55 4 3 10 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 50 5 12 4 More
Myerscough, Sue Ellen Ill, C 43 6 279 - More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 43 6 10 8 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 40 8 9 5 More
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 39 9 51 81 More
Cardone, Kathleen Texas, W 39 9 8 12 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

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 District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 230 convicted in immigration convictions. Judge Brack appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 7) and five years ago (rank 1).

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 99 convicted in immigration convictions. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

  • Judge George P. Kazen in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 66 convicted in immigration convictions.

Report Generated: May 9, 2013
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