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  Policy and Public Interest Groups
National Immigrant Justice Center
August 1, 2019

Decriminalizing Migration: Ending Prosecutions for Border Crossing Violations

Prosecutions for border crossings were low until 2005, when U.S. Attorneys increased mass prosecutions under President George W. Bush as part of the national securitization of immigration enforcement.viBy 2009, under the Obama administration, U.S. Attorneys prosecuted more than50,000 casesof unlawful entry or reentry. The Trump Administration has pushed the statutes to their limits, with the number of prosecutions soaring to 89,000 in 2018. In 2005, theBush administration launched “Operation Streamline,” a program in which DHS and the Justice Department target and prosecute migrants en massefor unauthorized border crossings. The process involves mass hearings in which up to 80 migrants are arraigned, found guilty, convicted and sentenced for unlawful entryin one fell swoop. The program expanded as prosecutions accelerated under the Obama administration, before scaling down and changing names in 2016. Streamline resurged and moved into new districts and continues to expand under the Trump administration.....[Citing TRAC data and reports].

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