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  Policy and Public Interest Groups
Human Rights Watch
May 23, 2013

Turning Migrants into Criminals The Harmful Impact of US Border Prosecutions

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency that enforces US immigration laws, refers more cases for prosecution to the US Department of Justice than do the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agency (ATF), and the US Marshals service combined. Prosecutions for illegal entry and reentry have increased significantly over the past decade. For most of the 1990s, relatively few border-crossers were charged with illegal entry. Prosecutions jumped dramatically in 2004, and under President Barack Obama, the surge has continued. CBP no longer promotes Streamline as a zero-tolerance program, and CBP does not come close to referring every migrant apprehended for criminal prosecution; immigration authorities in 2010 made about 17 federal criminal arrests per 100 apprehensions in Southwest Border Patrol sectors......[citing TRAC research].

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