Despite Rise in Felony Charges, Most Immigration Convictions Remain Misdemeanors
(26 Jun 2014) Convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry continue to dominate the criminal enforcement of federal immigration laws, according to a new analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of case-by case records from the Justice Department. During the first six months of fiscal year 2014, two out of three immigration convictions -- 24,647 out of a total of 36,256 -- were for illegal entry (8 USC 1325). This ratio is little changed from the pattern of the last decade, even though during this recent six-month period more people were charged with the more serious felony offense of illegal re-entry. Half of these cases, however, were pled down to a petty misdemeanor for simple illegal entry.

There is also a great deal of variability in charging and plea bargaining practices from district to district. In most districts, those charged with illegal re-entry do end up convicted of this offense. But in Arizona the opposite is true.

For more details on convictions for both illegal entry and re-entry, see the report at:
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