Criminal immigration violation charges are being filed by the federal government at unprecedented levels, a report by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reveals.
This is due in part to Operation Streamline, which Federal authorities are expanding. This program brings low-level criminal charges against illegal immigrants caught crossing the highlighted parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. As shown on the chart, the number of immigration prosecutions is rising, and the number of border apprehensions is falling.
Released in June, the TRAC study reports there were 9,350 immigration prosecutions in March, representing a 50 percent surge from the month before, based on official records obtained by the group. When compared to a year ago, the increase was 73 percent.
TRAC attributes the rise to intensified federal policies under the “Operation Streamline” initiative which launched as a pilot project in Del Rio, Texas, in December 2005.
There were 8,104 immigration convictions in March, representing a 24.4 percent increase from February.
About 99 percent of cases referred for prosecution were charged by U.S. attorneys. The median sentence was about a month, the report indicates.
The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement notes that immigration violations are normally civil offenses prosecuted by immigration judges, adding that under Operation Streamline, the federal government has criminalized these offenses, barring immigrants from future opportunity to be legalized.
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