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Federal prosecutions of illegal immigrants reach record high: TRAC study

[JURIST] US immigration prosecutions continued to increase in March 2008, jumping nearly 50 percent from the previous month and nearly 75 percent from the previous year, according to a report [text; press release] released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) [official websites] at Syracuse University. Federal immigration prosecutions have risen since February [JURIST report], when such prosecutions hit a record high. TRAC attributed the increase to Operation Streamline [Washington Post backgrounder], a joint federal program under which federal prosecutors levy minor charges against illegal immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border. "Reentry of a deported alien" is by far the most common charge in immigration prosecutions.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website], one of the agencies involved in Operation Streamline, maintains a number of additional initiatives [fact sheet] to combat illegal immigration. Late last month, 270 illegal immigrants arrested during an ICE-led raid at an Agriprocessors Inc. [corporate website] meatpacking plant in Iowa were each sentenced to five months in prison [JURIST report] and 27 more received probation after pleading guilty to the use of false immigration documents. ICE also carried out a raid in California last month targeting 495 people who had ignored deportation orders, during which several hundred other illegal immigrants were also found; the raid resulted in the arrest of more than 900 illegal immigrants [ICE press release].

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