Prosecution for Immigration Crimes Rising Again

Fell under first year of Trump, but now returning to Obama levels

Image Credits: LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP/Getty Images.

Prosecutions of criminal immigration offenses are projected to rise almost 20 percent in FY 2018, a  new report from the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) shows.

TRAC bases its estimates on the 7,020 new criminal immigration prosecutions in March of 2018, an increase of 23.9 percent from the previous month. TRAC projects that, if the federal government continues to prosecute criminal immigration offenses in accord with this trend, there will be more than 70,000 prosecutions by fiscal year’s end.

Criminal immigration offenses importantly do not include simple illegal immigration, which is a civil, rather than criminal offense. Rather, criminal offenses include acts such as reentry of a previously deported person, the smuggling of illegal immigrants, or visa or other document fraud.

Prosecutions for criminal immigration offenses are historically quite low, TRAC noted, with fewer than 20,000 per year under the last term of the Clinton administration and the first term of the Bush administration. They increased some under Bush’s second term, but only really took off with the swearing in of President Barack Obama. The number of criminal immigration prosecutions almost reached 100,000 in 2013.

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