Immigration Prosecutions for October 2013

Number Latest Month 6,509
Percent Change from previous month -1.2
Percent Change from 1 year ago -9.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -11.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -21.7
Table 1: Criminal Immigration Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2013 the government reported 6509 new immigration prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 1.2% 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 Table 1)

When monthly 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-9.3 percent). Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 11 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in immigration prosecutions

The decrease from the levels five years ago in immigration prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of immigration prosecutions 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: Prosecutions by investigative agency

Virtually all federal criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses in October 2013 (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 Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In October 2013, 5664 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 49 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien" (45.7%).

Immigration Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2013, 845 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 1177 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 prosecutions of immigration matters filed in U.S. District Court during October 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1,546 1 1 1 More
08 USC 1324 - Bringing in and harboring certain aliens 276 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1546 - Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents 86 3 3 3 More
18 USC 1544 - Misuse of passport 41 4 5 11 More
08 USC 1325 - Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. 27 5 4 4 More
18 USC 911 - False personification - Citizen of the US 6 6 6 6 More
18 USC 1001 - Fraud/false statements or entries generally 5 7 12 5 More
18 USC 1425 - Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlaw 5 7 16 23 More
18 USC 1543 - Forgery or false use of passport 5 7 13 11 More
08 USC 1253 - Alien hindering his/her removal from the US 4 10 14 16 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "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 3 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 30.8 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1425 that involves " Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlaw ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—750 %—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 67.2 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 prosecutions— 85.3 percent—was for filings 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 prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of prosecutions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.


Judicial District Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Texas, S 423 1 2 1 More
Texas, W 352 2 1 2 More
N Mexico 261 3 5 5 More
Cal, S 237 4 3 3 More
Arizona 226 5 4 4 More
Fla, S 84 6 6 7 More
Mich, E 29 7 22 60 More
Utah 26 8 9 13 More
Virg, E 25 9 11 14 More
Texas, N 23 10 12 16 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Southern District of Texas (Houston)—with 423 prosecutions—was the most active during October 2013. The Southern District of Texas (Houston) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd. 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.

  • 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 Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria), now ranked 9th , and Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) at 10th In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 12th one year ago and 14th and 16th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in immigration prosecutions compared to one year ago— 36.9 percent—was Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 535.7 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in immigration prosecutions— 37.2 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Southern District of California (San Diego) showed the largest drop— 17.6 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 of this type during October 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Gonzales, Kenneth John N Mexico 163 1 - - More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 59 2 3 5 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 58 3 4 6 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 57 4 5 2 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 54 5 13 28 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 49 6 7 10 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 46 7 2 - More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 36 8 8 9 More
Guaderrama, David C. Texas, W 36 8 10 - More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 34 10 13 - 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 filings .

  • Judge Kenneth John Gonzales in the District of New Mexico ranked 1st with 163 defendants in immigration cases.

  • Judge Randy Crane in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd with 59 defendants in immigration cases. Judge Crane appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 3) and five years ago (rank 5).

  • Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 58 defendants in immigration cases. Judge Hinojosa appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 4) and five years ago (rank 6).

Report Generated: January 13, 2014
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