HOUSTON, Texas — About half of the nation’s federal criminal cases last year were filed in regions near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an alarming annual report from the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ).
During FY 2013, U.S. Attorney’s offices filed a total of 61,529 criminal cases against defendants, according to the DOJ. Regions along the border each had more convictions than in any other district. 6,341 cases were filed in Western Texas, suggesting it is home to the country’s most severe crime patterns. 6,130 cases were filed in Southern Texas; 4,848 were filed in Southern California; 3,889 were filed in New Mexico; and 3,538 were filed in Arizona.
Judicial Watch pointed out that out of the 94 U.S. federal court districts, the five near the Mexico border “see a large portion of criminal cases. … [and] also have the biggest number of defendants actually convicted of federal crimes.”
The most common crimes committed over the year were immigration related, with 23,744 such cases having been filed by the feds. Judicial Watch pointed out that immigration crimes accounted for 38.6 percent of all federal cases.
Drug-related crimes were also common, with 13,383 such cases having been filed in FY 2013.
Breitbart Texas Contributing Editor and border security expert Sylvia Longmire said, “Former Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Janet Napolitano often said in 2013 that overall crime along the southwest border has decreased 30 percent in the last 20 years. This is accurate enough, but only when you look at certain crime statistics that are pulled from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, or UCR, database in a certain way that can make statistics sound favorable. When citing these UCR statistics, former Secretary Napolitano never indicated how overall border crime rates compared to the rest of the country, although crime rates in certain border cities are among the lowest in the country.”
Longmire continued, “The reason why is that those violent crime rates only marginally correlate to this DOJ report, which includes prosecutorial initiation for all crimes, not just the ones DHS likes to use. The UCR doesn’t include crime statistics for drug trafficking, or trespassing, or kidnapping–some of the most common crimes occurring in border areas, and especially rural ones.”
The Obama Administration has been tight-lipped about the rampant crime in border towns.
Some of the president’s critics have accused him of helping fuel criminal activity along the border. In May, President Obama used unilateral authority to create a vast wilderness area in New Mexico along the Mexico border. The monument came under harsh criticism for being a “drug corridor for violent criminals and drug cartels.” Border Patrol and other law enforcement will have restricted access to the land.
“While violent crime rates should be most concerning for border residents–and fortunately those do seem to have dropped–it’s also a significant concern that other criminal activity is more prevalent near the border,” Longmire concluded. “That has an impact on property values, tourism, commerce, and the overall sense of security in border communities.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.