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February 13, 2020

Criminal Immigrant Prosecutions Declined Sharply After Jeff Sessions Left Office
By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

In early 2018, CBP referred around 5,000 cases for prosecution. By October 2018, this had jumped to 13,286 referrals. The number started slipping in late 2018, and last year saw further decline. The number of criminal prosecutions that immigration agencies referred to the Justice Department in October 2019 (the last month for which TRAC has data) was down 4.2 percent from the previous month and 37.4 percent from October 2018. Immigration agencies are still referring a lot of cases—8,315 last October, to be precise. That's still significantly higher than in Trump's first year or the tail end of the Obama presidency. But it's on par with or lower than many of the per-month referrals from October 2009 through October 2014. TRAC points out that "the trend in CBP-referred prosecutions does not map neatly onto the trend in Border Patrol apprehensions along the Southwest border. In fact, just as apprehensions began climbing sharply in March of 2019, criminal prosecutions began to fall."

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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