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Mother Jones
July 24, 2018

New Data Shows How Trump Administration Prosecuted Migrant Parents With Children Instead of Adults Traveling Alone
By Noah Lanard

Less than one-third of migrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents were criminally prosecuted in May, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Transactional Access Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research center at Syracuse University. Case-by-case records analyzed by TRAC show that 9,216 people were prosecuted along the southern border in May following referrals from Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. More than 40,000 adults and children were apprehended by Border Patrol agents in May. After excluding children, who were not targeted for prosecution, TRAC found that “a generous estimate indicates criminal prosecutions were still at most only 32 percent of total Border Patrol apprehensions.” Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 24,000 adults traveling without children who crossed the border in May, meaning that the Justice Department could have increased prosecutions for illegal entry without prosecuting any parents and separating families. “The so-called zero-tolerance policy didn’t as a practical matter eliminate prosecutorial discretion,” TRAC concluded. “Since less than one out of three adults were actually prosecuted, CBP personnel had to choose which individuals among those apprehended to refer to federal prosecutors.” The total number of prosecutions in May increased 11 by percent compared with April and 44 percent compared with March.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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