Enforcement Declining Despite High Rates of Alien Crime

By Jessica M. Vaughan on August 23, 2013

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For the first time since 2006, the U.S. Sentencing Commission is reporting a decline in the number of immigration cases in federal court, echoing other indications of a significant decline in immigration enforcement, despite continued high levels of illegal immigration. According to a newly published statistical overview, in 2012 there were nearly 11 percent fewer immigration cases sentenced in federal court. They confirm ICE's own statistics showing that, in contrast to Obama administration claims of record levels of deportations and a laser-like focus on criminals, in fact enforcement has slowed to a crawl, and fewer criminals are being targeted, to boot.

According to the report, there were 3,169 fewer immigration cases sentenced in federal court last year, a decline of 10.7 percent, and the first decline since 2006. These offenses include some of the more serious immigration law violations, including alien smuggling, passport and visa fraud, re-entry after deportation, and unlawful presence.

Immigration crimes are not the only federal cases involving non-citizens. The Commission data show that nearly half (46 percent) of all federal offenders are non-citizens. In 2012, more than 9 percent of all murderers, 31 percent of all drug traffickers, 49 percent of all kidnappers, 31 percent of all money launderers, 17 percent of all auto thieves, and 24 percent of all federal-level fraudsters sentenced that year were non-citizens.

Further details on offenders and crimes, including a breakdown by federal court district, can be found here.