Immigration Convictions for October 2012

Number Latest Month 6,689
Percent Change from previous month -17.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago 16.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 162.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 52.0
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 6689 new immigration convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 17.7% 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 2012 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (16.7 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 162.3 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 52 percent instead of 162.3 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 October 2012 (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 October 2012, 4518 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 October 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 72.6 percent of all magistrate convictions in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (26%).

Immigration Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 2171 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October 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 October.

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 October 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,804 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 185 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 56 3 3 4 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 38 4 4 3 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 30 5 6 13 More
18 USC 911 - False personification - Citizen of the US 19 6 5 6 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 7 7 10 11 More
18 USC 1542 - False statement in application and use of passport 7 7 7 7 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 6 9 12 12 More
18 USC 3 - Accessory after the fact 2 10 34 - More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 2 10 8 10 More
18 USC 545 - Smuggling goods into the United States 2 10 - - 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 132.7 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—1100 %—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 48.3 percent—was False personification - Citizen of the US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 911 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 45.8 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. " (Title 8 U.S.C Section 1325 ).

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 513 1 3 2 More
Texas, S 358 2 1 1 More
Arizona 268 3 2 4 More
Cal, S 243 4 4 3 More
N Mexico 208 5 5 5 More
N Car, W 34 6 40 33 More
Fla, S 31 7 7 6 More
Cal, C 30 8 8 7 More
Colorado 25 9 18 16 More
Cal, E 24 10 9 12 More
Utah 24 10 6 9 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Western District of Texas (San Antonio)—with 513 convictions—was the most active during October 2012. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 3 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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • District of Arizona is now ranking 3rd. The District of Arizona was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Colorado , now ranked 9th , and Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 18th and 40th one year ago and 16th and 33rd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in immigration convictions compared to one year ago— 28.9 percent—was Colorado . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 139.2 percent—was Western District of Texas (San Antonio).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in immigration convictions— 53.1 percent—was Utah .  But over the past five years, Southern District of Florida (Miami) showed the largest drop— 10.6 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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 153 1 16 1 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 88 2 1 - More
Garcia, Orlando Luis Texas, W 84 3 54 65 More
Rodriguez, Xavier Texas, W 81 4 84 95 More
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 71 5 72 65 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 58 6 3 6 More
Tagle, Hilda G. Texas, S 54 7 14 5 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 53 8 6 2 More
Briones, David Texas, W 39 9 13 10 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 38 10 15 4 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 153 convicted in immigration convictions.

  • Judge Alia Moses in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 88 convicted in immigration convictions. Judge Mosesalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 1).

  • Judge Orlando Luis Garcia in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 84 convicted in immigration convictions.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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