Immigration prosecutions made up the biggest segment of criminal prosecutions lodged by U.S. Attorneys in fiscal 2012, the agency reported. U.S. Attorneys’ Office, United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2012. This is consistent with a trend that stretches to the end of the Bush Administration.
According to the agency’s report, immigration prosecutions accounted for 40.6% of all federal criminal cases filed in fiscal year 2012. 2012 Statistical Report at 10 chart 2.2. This is a slight drop from the 41.8% of the federal criminal docket that immigration crimes filled in FY 2011. 2012 Statistical Report at 11 chart 2.2. The next largest category in fiscal years 2012 and 2011, drug offenses, came in at about half the number of immigration prosecutions—22.1% of federal prosecutions were for drug crimes in each year. 2012 Statistical Report at 10 chart 2.2; id. at 11 chart 2.2.
Excluding magistrate courts, federal courts in FY 2012 closed immigration cases involving 28,077 defendants. Of these, 26,952 resulted in conviction; 1,030 were dismissed; and a mere 20 resulted in acquittal. 2012 Statistical Report at 36 tbl. 3. This is a conviction rate of approximately 95.99%. Not surprisingly, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement referred the bulk of these defendants to federal prosecutors. 2012 Statistical Report at 41 tbl. 3c. Combined, prosecutors received more cases from DHS than from any other federal law enforcement agency, including the Justice Department which houses the ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and DEA. 2012 Statistical Report at 41 tbl. 3c. In most cases, prosecutors moved forward with an immigration case after receiving it from the referring agency (called “declination”). U.S. Attorneys’ declined to prosecute 1,029 immigration cases. In comparison, prosecutors declined to prosecute 5,908 potential cases involving violent crime and 5,616 involving white-collar crime, though reasons for declining cases vary significantly. 2012 Statistical Report at 85 tbl. 14.