Criminal immigration enforcement has declined 22.3 percent in the past year, according to Justice Department data compiled and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).
In November 2015 there were 4,861 new immigration prosecutions, 13.2 percent lower than the month prior and 22.3 percent lower than the number of new immigration prosecutions in November 2014, exactly one year earlier.
The data continues a trend in declining criminal immigration prosecutions. According to TRAC, immigration prosecutions have declined 15.1 percent since 2010 and, excluding cases filed in U.S. Magistrate Court (which deals with less serious offenses), prosecutions of immigration cases have declined 36.3 percent in the past five years.
The top three charges for immigration prosecutions filed in U.S. District Court that month was “Reentry of a deported alien” (1,278 ) followed by “Bringing in and harboring certain aliens” (226), and “Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents” (32).
“[A]mong the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago — down 34.1 percent — was “False statement in application and use of passport” (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1542),” the TRAC analysis adds. “Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions — 71.4 percent — was for filings where the lead charge was “Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US” (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371).”
It added that the offense, which saw the greatest jump in prosecutions compared to a year earlier was the charge for “Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US,” up 60 percent with five counts.
The courts seeing the greatest numbers of immigration prosecutions were largely in the southern states along the U.S. border.
The most active court with 386 prosecutions during the month of November was the Southern District of Texas, followed by the District of New Mexico with 311 prosecutions, and the Western District of Texas placed third with 293.