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Publication Immigration Offenders in the Federal Justice System, 2010

Mark Motivans, Ph.D.

July 18, 2012    NCJ 238581

Presents data on criminal and civil immigration violations handled by the federal justice system over the last decade. The report examines the various ways immigration violator cases are processed based on the type of offense, the suspect's prior record, and the district in which the suspect is apprehended. Tables describe the demographic characteristics of criminal immigration offenders, adjudication and sentencing outcomes, and the number of criminal immigration offenders returning to federal prison within 3 years of release from previous federal imprisonment. Data in the report come from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP) and from documentation published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

Highlights:

  • Apprehensions for immigration violations peaked at 1.8 million in 2000 but dropped to 516,992 in 2010—the lowest level since 1972.
  • The most common immigration offense charged in U.S. district court in 2010 was illegal reentry (81%), followed by alien smuggling (12%), misuse of visas (6%) and illegal entry (1%).
  • Eighty-one percent of immigration defendants who were convicted in U. S. district court received a prison sentence in 2010. The median prison term imposed was 15 months.

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