Thursday, June 19, 2008

Criminal Charges for Immigrants Strain System

Immigration Prosecutions Hit New High
Critics Say Increased Use of Criminal Charges Strains System
By Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post
June 2, 2008

[...] Other federal officials are more critical, warning that the focus on immigration is distorting the functions of law enforcement and the courts. Several Arizona officials noted that U.S. prosecutors there last year were so short on resources, they chose not to prosecute a number of marijuana seizures of less than 500 pounds, although they later revised the guideline to 20 pounds.

"We're concerned about the misdirection of resources," said Heather Williams, first assistant to the federal public defender of Arizona. Each day her office's lawyers spend on misdemeanor border-crossing cases, she said, "they're not talking about a drug case, a sex crime, a murder, assault or any number of white-collar cases -- and the same is obviously true of the prosecutors." [...]

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More Illegal Crossings Are Criminal Cases, Group Says
By Julia Preston, New York Times
June 18, 2008

Criminal prosecutions of immigrants by federal authorities surged to a record high in March, as immigration cases accounted for the majority — 57 percent — of all new federal criminal cases brought nationwide that month, according to a report published Tuesday by a nonpartisan research group. [...]

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Surge in Immigration Prosecutions Continues
TRAC Immigration (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse)
17 Jun 2008

Federal immigration prosecutions continued their recent and highly unusual surge in March 2008, apparently reaching an all-time high, according to timely data obtained from the Justice Department by TRAC. The total of 9,350 such prosecutions was up by almost 50% from the previous month and 73% from the previous year.

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