Along the US-Mexico Border Prosecutions for Harboring Immigrants Continue to Climb
(13 Apr 2020) The latest available case-by-case records tracking lead charges for February 2020 show 504 new prosecutions under federal laws prohibiting the harboring of undocumented immigrants, up from 400 during the same month last year. On an annual basis, harboring prosecutions reached an all-time high in FY 2019 with just shy of 5,700 new cases, up from about 4,500 in FY 2018.

Of the 504 new harboring prosecutions in February, most-86 percent respectively-occurred in the five federal district courts along the US-Mexico border: Texas South, Texas West, California South, Arizona, and New Mexico. However, several district courts are now prosecuting higher numbers of harboring cases than previously seen. The Western District of Louisiana (in Shreveport) ranked 6th in February among federal harboring prosecutions and the Eastern District of North Carolina (in Raleigh) ranked 7th nationwide.

Despite this growth, harboring convictions represent a small fraction of the total number of immigration-related prosecutions. Largest, of course, are prosecutions for illegal entry (8 USC 1325) and illegal reentry (8 USC 1326). In February 2020, for instance, there were just over 500 harboring prosecutions compared to nearly 4,000 each for illegal entry and reentry.

The growth in harboring cases may be at least partly attributed to a directive issued by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017, which instructed federal attorneys to increase prosecution under 8 USC 1324.

To read the full report on federal prosecutions under the harboring provision, go to:

In addition to these most recent figures, TRAC continues to offer free monthly reports on selected government agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DHS and the IRS. TRAC's reports also monitor program categories such as immigration, drugs, weapons, and terrorism. Even more detailed criminal enforcement information for the period from FY 1986 through February 2020 is available to TRACFed subscribers via Express and Going Deeper tools. Go to for more information. Customized reports for a specific agency, district, program, lead charge or judge are available via the TRAC Data Interpreter, either as part of a TRACFed subscription or on a per-report basis. Go to

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