August 7, 2018

Immigration policing cuts federal attention to other crimes

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse 

The push to prioritize prosecuting illegal border crossers has begun to impact the capacity of federal prosecutors to enforce other federal laws. In March 2018, immigration prosecutions dominated so that in the five federal districts along the southwest border only one in seven prosecutions (14%) were for any non-immigration crimes. But by June 2018, this ratio had shrunk so just one in seventeen prosecutions (6%) were for anything other than immigration offenses.

Federal prosecutors are responsible for enforcing a wide range of important federal laws - designed to combat narcotics trafficking and weapons offenses, battle those polluting air and water, counter corporate and other schemes to defraud the public, and much more. There is a combined population in these five southwest border districts of close to 30 million people. However, the number of prosecutions for committing any non-immigration crimes dwindled from a total of 1,093 in March 2018 to just 703 prosecutions in June 2018.

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