Illegal Immigration Criminal Prosecutions are Up but Border Apprehensions are Way Down Since 1998

Thursday, October 17, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Jose Nino
Oct 17, 2019

Immigration enforcement has been a mixed bag so far in the Trump administration.

Pew Research Center reports that the first fiscal year of the Trump administration witnessed significant increases in the number of people arrested and criminally prosecuted for violating immigration laws such as entering and reentering the United States illegally, according to new government data.

In 2018, the number of federal criminal arrests for immigration offenses increased from 58,031 to 108,667 — marking an 87 percent increase based on an August report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

Similarly, the number of suspects who were criminally prosecuted for immigration violations went up by 66 percent between fiscal year 2017 and 2018, from 59,797 to 99,479.

These increases reflect a policy change that the Trump administration has pursued in trying to subject border crossers to criminal rather than civil penalties.

However, the number of overall apprehensions at the U.S.—Mexico border should have America First advocates worried.

In 1998, the federal government was able to apprehend 1,516,680 immigrants in 1998, whereas in 2018 there were only 398,579 border apprehensions.

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