According to Justice Department data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), prosecutions for immigration-related crimes have climbed to record levels this year — and they climbed more in Minnesota than any other state for the first part of 2008.
By April, the last date for which information was available, prosecutions were up more than 650 percent compared with five years ago and up 146 percent over 2007. Nationally, prosecutions increased but by a much more modest number, 167 percent compared with five years ago, and only a 72 percent increase over 2007.
Prosecutions in Minnesota grew more than any other judicial district in the country as of March 2008. According to TRAC researchers, “The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago — 82.9 percent — was Minnesota. This was the same district that had the largest increase — 392.3% — when compared with five years ago.”
Minnesota ranked 10th in the nation in number of prosecutions, a list dominated by states that border Mexico, as well as Florida. The increase comes as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up raids on Midwestern factories. Significant raids have occurred in Twin Cities, Worthington and Willmar over the last two years.
Nationwide, immigration-related prosecutions have risen to an all-time high and now account for half of all criminal prosecutions in the United States, with some analysts worrying that the increase could put stress on the judicial system.
“This is an effort to use the federal criminal justice system in immigration enforcement,” Susan B. Long, a TRAC co-director and Syracuse University professor,told the Los Angeles Times. “What it means is that immigration cases are dominating the federal court system these days. The volume of cases is really huge. This is a big deal.”
For a look at other states in the Center for Independent Media network:
Colorado Independent: “Prosecutions of immigrants surge”
New Mexico Independent: “NM jumps to No. 2 for immigration-crime prosecution, feds say”