Record High Immigration-Related Criminal Prosecutions in Fiscal Year 2013

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Record High Immigration-Related Criminal Prosecutions in Fiscal Year 2013

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Contributed by Aaron Hall, Senior Attorney

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) from Syracuse University released a report on November 25, 2013, showing that there were nearly 100,000 criminal immigration prosecutions during the 2013 fiscal year.  TRAC compiled its data through information it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The number of immigration prosecutions is up 22.6{b6b8f04f7bd4b863c4cfed8339fd19419bda3e071c79bc5ac8c810cb9c52e30f} over the past five years.  The vast majority of these prosecutions were for illegal entry under section 1325 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code and for illegal re-entry under section 1326 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code.  Entering or attempting to enter the country without inspection is a federal criminal offense, though in the past many if not most violators caught were released without criminal charges.

The Obama Administration has put an increased focus on criminally charging violators with illegal entry and especially with illegal re-entry after a deportation.  In fiscal year 2013, there were 76{b6b8f04f7bd4b863c4cfed8339fd19419bda3e071c79bc5ac8c810cb9c52e30f} more prosecutions against those charged with illegal re-entry after deportation compared the final year of the George W. Bush Administration.  Many charged with this offense are shocked when the learn that it carries a maximum punishment of 2 years imprisonment with the possibility of sentence enhancers taking it to a 10 or 20 year maximum depending on the individual’s immigration and criminal history.

The bottom line is that trying to enter the U.S. without inspection is a criminal offense with severe consequences including lengthy periods of imprisonment.  Noncitizens already in the United States facing deportation should know that illegal re-entry after the deportation is not a viable option and should consider fighting their case to stay here in removal proceedings.  For those abroad, entry without proper documentation is a criminal offense that could ruin any chances to move to or visit the U.S. in the future.

To speak with an immigration attorney about potential defenses against removal or about immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, call our office at 303-297-9171 and ask to set up a consultation.

Link to summary of the findings by TRAC

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