Immigration Enforcement Tops Prosecutions in 2019

Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

The enforcement of immigration crimes outpaced the enforcement of drug-related crimes during 2019, as President Donald Trump delivered on his promise to block illegal migration.

Enforced immigration crimes climbed from 23,883 crimes in 2018 to 29,354 crimes in 2019, according to the annual report of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The increased prosecutions from October 20118 to September 2019 helped reduce the huge wave of southern migrants, which reached almost 150,000 in May 2019 before falling to roughly 30,000 in February 2020. The success was also aided by a series of border reforms, including rules allowing border agents to send migrants back into Mexico and Guatemala.

“Immigration cases accounted for the largest single group of offenses in fiscal year 2019, comprising 38.4 percent of all reported cases,” according to the commission’s “2019 Annual Report and Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics.” The late-March report continued:

Cases involving drugs, firearms, and fraud were the next most common types of offenses after immigration cases. Together these four types of offenses accounted for 84.4 percent of all cases reported to the Commission in fiscal year 2019.

Drug trafficking crimes climbed from 18,747 in 2018 to 19,830 crimes in 2019, the report said.

Almost 92 percent of the 2019 immigration crimes were committed by non-U.S. citizens, nearly all of whom were “illegal alien[s],” said the report.

In drug trafficking cases, 15,602 of the offenders were Americans, and 4,198 offenders were non-citizens. Roughly one-quarter of the non-citizens are ‘resident alen[s]”  who have green cards, while almost two-thirds were “illegal alien[s].”

Eighty percent of immigration offenders have not graduated from high school, the report said. In contrast, Almost 40 percent of drug traffickers have

graduated from high school. Half of the offenders were sentenced to prison for more than six months.

But almost 60 percent of the immigration offenders were allowed a “supervised release,” the report said.


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