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Bipartisan Policy Center
March 27, 2018

The Prosecution Pipeline: How Policies from Bush to Trump Ended up Putting More Immigrants in Federal Prisons
By Cristobal Ramon

A January 2018 TRAC report noted that 576 of the 4,758 convictions in November 2017 resulted in a prison sentence of over a year, suggesting that the majority of these violations were relatively minor ones, which could include illegal entry. Within the 576 convictions resulting in imprisonments over a year, 77 percent were for illegal re-entry violations. TRAC data also shows that federal district courts along the U.S.-Mexico border issue a significant number of immigration-related convictions, demonstrating how prosecutions and convictions of illegal border crossing offenses grew in the federal courts system under Operation Streamline. In November 2017, the judicial districts with the highest number of immigration convictions were the Western District of Texas (1,231 convictions), Arizona (1,066 convictions), and the Southern District of Texas (872 convictions). As Figure 3 shows, judicial districts on the border also have ranked highest in the number of convictions with sentences lasting over a year, with the Southern and Western Districts of Texas appearing in the top three judicial districts in 2017, 2016, and 2012

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