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Arizona Driving Changes in Criminal Immigration Re-entry Prosecutions

“The latest available data from the Justice Department covering the first six months of FY 2014 indicate that substantial changes are occurring in the criminal enforcement of the immigration laws, particularly among those districts along the border with Mexico. Overall, the new data document a drop in the number of criminal prosecutions for illegal entry under 8 USC 1325, but a continued rise in prosecutions for illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326). According to the case-by-case records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), there were a total of 19,831 criminal prosecutions for which the felony charge of illegal re-entry was listed as the lead charge. This contrasts with only 15,578 criminal prosecutions for the petty misdemeanor charge of illegal entry, which have consistently outnumbered those for re-entry in recent years. Note that the impact of plea bargaining down to the less serious illegal entry charge will be explored in a future report. Among U.S. federal judicial districts which border Mexico, Arizona dominates in prosecutions for illegal re-entry, with 1,669 such prosecutions in just the most recent month (March 2014). By contrast, the number of illegal re-entry prosecutions in the other four border districts (New Mexico, Texas West, Texas South and California South) have been either steady or falling. For more details on prosecution trends for both illegal entry and re-entry, see the report here.”

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