Friday, June 27, 2014
Convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry (8 USC 1325) continue to dominate the criminal enforcement of federal immigration laws. During the first six months of fiscal year 2014, according to the case-by-case government records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), two out of three immigration convictions — 24,647 out of a total of 36,256 criminal convictions — were for this offense. This ratio is little changed from the pattern of the last decade, which is striking given a recent surge in the number of people charged with felony illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326). While there was some year-to-year variation during the previous 10 year period from FY 2004-FY 2013, overall 65 percent of all immigration convictions were for illegal entry. During the first six months of the current fiscal year, 68 percent were convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry, which is punishable by up to six months in jail. Only around one out of every four immigration convictions have been for the more serious charge of illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326), a felony. During the first six months of FY 2014, 9,716 out of the total of 36,256 immigration convictions were for illegal re-entry — or 27 percent. This is little changed from the average of 26 percent during the previous 10 years.