Prosecutions of immigrants surge

Immigration cases made up more than half of all federal prosecutions in April and have increased by 72 percent in a year, according to new data.

The Transactional Records Access Clearing (TRAC) house, an organization at Syracuse University that compiles government data, released the following statement this week:

Immigration cases continue to heavily dominate federal enforcement efforts, making up well over half — 58% — of all federal prosecutions in April, according to timely data obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

By comparison, prosecutions falling under the general category of drugs and narcotics made up only 16% of the total, while matters classified as involving white collar violations limped in at just under 5% for the same month.

While the data also shows that criminal immigration prosecutions by the federal government have increased by 72 percent in a year nationwide, TRAC points to an increased emphasis on immigration crimes near the U.S.-Mexico border as one reason for the surge.

San Diego, Calif., ranked first as the judicial district that dealt with the most immigration prosecutions per capita last in April.

Neighboring New Mexico was also second in April, and San Antonio, Texas, came in third. Colorado was not in the top 10.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at