Immigration Prosecution: Data And Common Charges

Immigration prosecution charges can include unlawful reentry. Penalties can include imprisonment and fines.

Deportation is a serious concern for immigrants attempting to start a new life in the United States. This is particularly true for those who also have a criminal record. The Associated Press recently published an article discussing deportation and criminal records. Essentially, the piece concludes that deportation efforts generally focus on immigrants with serious criminal records. As noted by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last year, authorities focus on “finding and deporting immigrants who pose a national security or public safety threat, those who have serious criminal records, and those who recently crossed the Mexican border.”

Although this focus may be true, overall the number of prosecutions for immigration offenses occurring within federal courts has grown over the last two decades. An analysis by the Pew Research Center reviewed the issue, finding that between the years of 1992 and 2012 prosecutions grew from 36,564 cases to 75,867. These prosecutions were primarily for unlawful re-entry into the United States.

More On The Pew Analysis

The Pew report involved an examination of data from the United States Sentencing Commission’s Monitoring of Federal Criminal Sentences. This analysis focused on data from federal, not state or local court systems.

Researchers with the study note that the number of unlawful re-entry convictions increased from 690 cases to 19,463 between the years of 1992 and 2012. Unlawful re-entry includes entering or attempting to enter the United States more than once, or entering after being deported.

Current Immigration Prosecution Data

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, also known as TRAC Immigration discussed the issue. TRAC is a database of immigration information maintained through Syracuse University. Their publication provides more current data, finding that this trend is slowly declining.

The publication states that the number of filings for prosecutions was down by 12 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. Although these prosecutions are on the decline, they still remain high. The publication states 5,827 new immigration prosecutions were reported by the Justice Department for July of 2015 alone. Top charges include:

  • Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc. This offense accounted for 61.3 percent of all cases filed with U.S. Magistrate Courts. Convictions for this offense can lead to a variety of penalties, including a monetary fine ranging from $50 to $250 for each re-entry or twice that amount if previously subject to a civil penalty.
  • Re-entry of deported alien. This charge was listed as the second most common with 33.3 percent. Convictions come with severe criminal penalties that vary depending on the reason for the deportation. For example, those who were previously deported due to commission of misdemeanors involving drugs can face up to 10 years imprisonment along with a monetary fine.
  • Fraud – nat’zation, citizenship, alien registry. This offense experienced the largest increase in prosecutions over the last year. It jumped by 146.7 percent. Essentially, this is defined as making false statements in relation to naturalization, citizenship or registry. Conviction can lead to a monetary fine or imprisonment of up to five years.

Those who are facing prosecution and potential deportation for these or similar crimes are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced deportation lawyer. This legal professional will advocate for your rights, working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Contact Us To Learn More

Contact C.T. Lee & Associates by calling 800-494-3809. We have offices in New York City and Newark.